Indirect Criminal Contempt
In Pennsylvania, Indirect Criminal Contempt, or ICC, is a charge filed against someone who is accused of violating a court order. This is most common in situations where the Court order is a “Protection from Abuse” order or “PFA.” An individual defendant can be charged with ICC for violating a PFA, even if they have not yet had a hearing on whether the PFA should be made permanent. Contacting an alleged victim who filed a PFA is a common cause for an ICC charge. You may need to defend against an ICC charge and also hire a PFA lawyer to help you with your case.
What is an ICC? And why is it “indirect?”
An Indirect Criminal Contempt is charged under Pennsylvania statute 23 Pa.C.S. section 6113. It is contempt of Court—in other words, it alleges that you have violated the Court’s order. It is “indirect” because it was done outside the presence of a judge or Court, and therefore, must be proven by a prosecutor rather than summarily ordered by a judge.
ICCs are a shorter process in criminal court
If you’ve been charged with Indirect Criminal Contempt, your path through the criminal justice system is a little different than a normal charge. You do not get a preliminary hearing on an ICC, but rather, you have a status date, and you can either demand a trial, or you can reach a plea agreement. In rare cases, ICCs can be withdrawn if the victim requests it, although it’s important to know that this is not a required outcome even if it is what the victim wants.
An ICC typically involves a fine, but it can involve jail time
The punishment for an ICC is almost always a fine, but it can involve 6 months of probation, or even jail time in some instances. The worst thing about an ICC is that it can complicate other processes for you, including the PFA adjudication, or even your custody or divorce actions if they are ongoing.
ICCs are not the only charge you should worry about
In many cases, an ICC is charged where the alleged victim is claiming that the defendant harmed them physically. Accordingly, an ICC charge may come parallel to simple assault charges, aggravated assault charges or harassment charges in Pennsylvania. If you’re charged with these, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney to help you figure out the best way out of your situation.
Conclusion: Consult with an experienced ICC lawyer in Reading, Pennsylvania about how to handle your charges
Our criminal defense attorneys stand ready to consult with you about your indirect criminal contempt. If you have been served with an ICC charge anywhere in Pennsylvania, call our attorneys to discuss how we can help you favorably resolve your case.