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Arizona Interfering with Judicial Proceedings / Violating a Court Order Lawyers

 

Arizona Interfering with Judicial Proceedings / Violating a Court Order Lawyers

Y’all, interfering with judicial proceedings or violating a court order is serious business here in Arizona. As criminal defense attorneys, we see these types of cases all the time. Let’s break down what these laws actually say, what the penalties are, and potential defenses that could help.

The Skinny on Arizona’s Interfering with Judicial Proceedings Law

First up is Arizona’s interfering with judicial proceedings law. This bad boy makes it a class 1 misdemeanor to do things like:

  • Make a ruckus and disrupt court proceedings
  • Ignore or fight a judge’s lawful order
  • Refuse to testify as a witness when the court tells you to
  • Publish inaccurate reports about court cases
  • Refuse to serve on a jury without a valid excuse

Basically, this law boils down to don’t mess with the court or you could end up with 6 months in jail, $2,500 in fines, and 3 years of probation. Yikes!

Now, we know courts can sometimes make mistakes or overstep. But it’s usually better to follow orders first and fight back later. Resisting from the start rarely ends well.

Busting a Court Order Can Also Lead to Contempt

Another way folks run afoul of the law is by disobeying a court order. Judges don’t take kindly to people ignoring their direct commands.

Breaking an order of protection, violating probation terms, dodging child support payments – these could all lead to contempt charges. The penalties are similar too – fines, jail time, community service. No bueno.

Violating Injunctions Against Harassment

Got a stalker situation? Arizona courts can issue injunctions against harassment to make people keep their distance. But if the harasser violates the injunction terms, that’s a class 1 misdemeanor too.

These cases often involve domestic violence. So there could be additional consequences like mandatory counseling or anger management. Plus, a 3rd DV charge within 7 years becomes a felony. Yikes!

Potential Defenses to These Charges

Now let’s talk defenses in case you or a client finds themselves accused of interfering with judicial proceedings or contempt.

A few solid defenses to explore:

  • The order wasn’t valid or lawful – Was the court order properly issued and served? If not, it may not be enforceable.
  • Inability to comply – Could the person really not follow the order, e.g. for health or financial reasons? Might be grounds for leniency.
  • Emergency exception – Breaking an order to respond to an emergency can sometimes be justified.
  • No willful violation – For contempt, prosecutors must prove intent beyond reasonable doubt. If incidental contact was unintentional, that helps.

Bottom line – never ignore these kinds of charges. Fighting back requires experienced legal help to protect your rights. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can evaluate the case details and build the strongest defense.

Creative Sentencing Alternatives to Jail Time

Even if convicted, all hope isn’t lost. Clever attorneys can often negotiate alternatives to jail like:

  • Diversion programs – Complete required classes and counseling, charges dismissed.
  • Probation – Strict supervision for a period of time. Screw up and you might serve the suspended sentence.
  • Fines + fees – Not fun but better than jail. Maybe do community service to offset costs.
  • Rehabilitative classes – For DV cases, anger management and counseling may be ordered.

The punishment should fit the circumstances. First-time offenders often catch a break. But repeat violations or egregious cases may get the book thrown at them.

When Does an Injunction Against Harassment Expire?

With injunctions against harassment, the order itself expires after one year unless the petitioner requests a renewal.

So for defenses, it’s worth checking if the injunction was still active. No valid order = no violation. But watch out for those renewals!

What About Domestic Violence Implications?

Now when injunction violations involve domestic violence, that’s a whole other can of worms. Additional penalties and consequences may apply.

For example, an interference with judicial proceedings conviction “as domestic violence” might require:

  • Mandatory domestic violence counseling
  • Court-ordered anger management classes
  • Stricter probation terms

Plus, a 3rd DV conviction within 7 years can sometimes be charged as a felony under Arizona’s aggravated DV law. Now we’re talking over 3 years behind bars. No me gusta!

Diversion Programs Could Lead to Dismissal

Luckily, some Arizona courts do offer diversion programs, especially for first-time offenders. These can be a good deal.

The court basically says: “If you take these classes and avoid further trouble, we’ll drop the charges.” No conviction on your record if you hold up your end.

Now diversion isn’t guaranteed. The facts of each case matter. But skilled lawyers can often negotiate diversion offers when appropriate.

If it’s not offered initially, submitting a “deviation request” could convince prosecutors to propose more lenient terms. This outlines mitigating factors to justify the lighter punishment.

Don’t Chance It – Get a Consult ASAP!

When facing interference with judicial proceedings or contempt charges, move fast. Arizona laws and courts take this stuff seriously.

Don’t wait and see or hope it goes away on its own. Connect with a qualified criminal defense attorney instead for trusted advice on the best path forward.

Schedule a free case evaluation so they can review the charges, explain possible defenses, and start working to protect your rights. The sooner the better!

Stay savvy out there, friends. And may the odds be ever in your favor!

 

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