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The consequences of violating a court order and being found in contempt of court in Indiana

Conflict in the courtroom:

Conflicts, quarrels, arguments can often occur when people do not see eye-to-eye on a set matter. It is only human to have disagreements and for conflict to arise on the rare occasion, but it is also natural for a dispute to seek out a resolution. Usually, a disagreement can be resolved outside of a court of law; however, there are times when that does not seem possible, and people may find themselves attempting to resolve quarrels within a court of law.

People oftentimes go to court to seek out the assistance of a judge to resolve a legal matter. A judge’s role is to remain neutral throughout the course of a case while reviewing all the facts and using their own legal experience and expertise to decide on a matter.

What is it called when someone disobeys a court order?

Typically, in each case there are at least two (or more) parties, thus creating a conflict when the parties do not agree. If a judge has determined the best interest of the case, they will issue an order with their decision. However, whether either party is in agreement with this order, they are obligated to follow it. Should you find yourself disagreeing with a court order, and willfully choose to disregard it – you may be found in contempt of court. Agreed or not, until a judge has ruled on a different order – you are to abide by the judge’s original order.

What happens if you are found in contempt of court in Indiana?

In Indiana, there are four types of contempt to be aware of – direct, indirect, civil, and criminal.

For the most part, it’s a straightforward definition, direct contempt can happen while you are present in a courtroom. This can include either party audibly stating they will not follow an order and can go as far as physically assaulting another person in front of the judge.

Indirect contempt refers to issues arising outside of a courtroom; this includes not complying with an issued order or violating the terms of the order.

Civil and criminal contempt refer to the type of case itself, although the repercussions for being found in contempt are similar, they can include court fines or even imprisonment. If you are ordered to pay a fine, you will be allotted a set amount of time to make that payment; the same goes for a jail sentence, you will only be imprisoned for a set amount of time, “not more than six months, unless there is a jury trial.”*

Follow the judges' orders:

If you have been found in contempt of court, it is a good idea to comply with the judges’ orders. If you believe the contempt was issued in error, it is wise to consult with your attorney, if you have one. While there can be some minor exceptions to disputing the contempt, such as Show Cause, you must show proof beyond a reasonable doubt of why you violated a court order and how it does/does not apply. This again must be reviewed by a judge. The simplest way to avoid this? Follow the issued court orders and comply.

What are the consequences of contempt of court in Indiana?

Being found in contempt is not something to strive for and may consequently cause permanent harm to your case. The best way to avoid contempt is to follow the court’s rules and orders; should you need legal assistance and advice it is smart to consult with experienced legal counsel.

It is beneficial to remember that the judge remains neutral in all cases and matters. It is their responsibility to uphold the law, determine the most appropriate outcome given the facts of the case, for all parties involved.

If you would like to schedule a legal consultation with an attorney to discuss your case, contact our office online by submitting a Contact Form at Contact Us | The Law Offices of Eugene Mogilevsky ( or call our office by dialing (317) 743-7958.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational and informational purposes only and is not to be taken as legal advice in any capacity. Reading this blog does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship.

*Useful Links and References:

“Indiana Contempt Procedure” Indiana Courts, 1 Jan. 2024,

“Indiana Judicial Branch” Indiana Courts,