Order to Show Cause for Indirect Criminal Contempt

Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients charged with indirect criminal contempt under Rule 3.840, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure.

If you received an order to show cause for a hearing at the courthouse in Tampa or Plant City in Hillsborough County, St. Petersburg or Clearwater in Pinellas County, or Brooksville in Hernando County, FL, then contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm.

Rule 3.840 spells out all of the procedural and due process requirements for the contempt proceedings including the requirements for the allegations in the charging document, the answer or motions, an order of arrest, the right to bail, the arraignment and the sentencing hearing.

The failure to strictly follow the requirements of the rule is often considered fundamental error that requires reversal even if no objection is made during the hearing.

The best defense is hiring an attorney to file a motion to dismiss the order to show cause, a motion for statement of particulars to clarify or narrow the allegations, an answer, and any mitigation to explain the conduct and why no punishment should be imposed.

Violation of the “No Contact” Provision in an Injunction

A “no contact” protective order can be issued on a temporary or final basis. In most cases, the “no contact” provision is part of the bond or pre-trial release conditions in a criminal case or a condition of probation.

A “no contact” provision can also be entered in a temporary or final civil order of protection against domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence or stalking violence.

After the order is entered, if the Petitioner alleges that the Respondent violated the court order, then the Petitioner will often complete an affidavit of Violation of Injunction. In certain cases, a prosecutor with that State Attorney’s Office might decide to file criminal charges for the violation of the injunction.

In other cases, the prosecutor might decide to deter any action to the Court that issued the civil protective order for further action. The Court that issued the civil protective order may decide to issue a Order to Show Cause.

Rule 3.840 for Indirect Criminal Contempt

Rule 3.840, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, provides, in part:

The judge, on the judge’s own motion or on affidavit of any person having knowledge of the facts, may issue and sign an order directed to the defendant, stating the essential facts constituting the criminal contempt charged and requiring the defendant to appear before the court to show cause why the defendant should not be held in contempt of court.

The order shall specify the time and place of the hearing, with a reasonable time allowed for preparation of the defense after service of the order on the defendant.

The Order to Show Cause will direct the Respondent to appear in court on a certain day at a certain time and in a certain place. At that time, the Court will consider the sworn testimony of the Petitioner or other witness, to determine if a violation of the Court’s Order is established.

If the Court determines that a violation occur, then the Respondent / Defendant will be arraigned. The arraignment involves asking the Respondent / Defendant if he would admit or deny the allegations (which essentially means that the court is asking if the Respondent is guilty or not guilty of the allegations contained in the Order to Show Cause).

The Court will then and there ask the Respondent / Defendant to show cause why he should not be held in and punished for indirect criminal contempt of Court, pursuant to Rule 3.840, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, for a willful failure to comply with the terms of the above Order.

Under Rule 3.840, Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure, the court may impose punishment for indirect criminal contempt that includes: a fine and/or incarceration.

Defenses to the Order to Show Cause

Under Rule 3.840(b), the Respondent / Defendant can represent himself or hire an attorney to represent him. The Respondent / Defendant can file different types of responses in writing, including:

  • a motion to dismiss the order to show cause;
  • a motion to move for a statement of particulars, or
  • an answer to the order by way of explanation or defense.

The answer and all motions SHALL be filed in writing unless the Court gives leave to present the motions orally. Not filing a written motion is not deemed as an admission of guilt of the indirect criminal contempt charged.

Finding an Attorney for an Order to Show Cause in Tampa, FL

If you need to speak with an attorney about an Order to Show Cause in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Brooksville in Hernando County, or St. Petersburg in Pinellas County, then call the Sammis Law Firm at (813) 250-0500. Indirect criminal contempt charges are serious.

Don’t face the judge alone.