Chapter 7. Other Offenses Against Public Justice - California Penal Code Section 166
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California Laws > Penal Code > Chapter 7. Other Offenses Against Public Justice - California Penal Code Section 166
166. (a) Except as provided in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d), a
person guilty of any of the following contempts of court is guilty of
(1) Disorderly, contemptuous, or insolent behavior committed
during the sitting of a court of justice, in the immediate view and
presence of the court, and directly tending to interrupt its
proceedings or to impair the respect due to its authority.
(2) Behavior specified in paragraph (1) that is committed in the
presence of a referee, while actually engaged in a trial or hearing,
pursuant to the order of a court, or in the presence of any jury
while actually sitting for the trial of a cause, or upon an inquest
or other proceeding authorized by law.
(3) A breach of the peace, noise, or other disturbance directly
tending to interrupt the proceedings of the court.
(4) Willful disobedience of the terms as written of any process or
court order or out-of-state court order, lawfully issued by a court,
including orders pending trial.
(5) Resistance willfully offered by any person to the lawful order
or process of a court.
(6) The contumacious and unlawful refusal of a person to be sworn
as a witness or, when so sworn, the like refusal to answer a material
(7) The publication of a false or grossly inaccurate report of the
proceedings of a court.
(8) Presenting to a court having power to pass sentence upon a
prisoner under conviction, or to a member of the court, an affidavit,
testimony, or representation of any kind, verbal or written, in
aggravation or mitigation of the punishment to be imposed upon the
prisoner, except as provided in this code.
(9) Willful disobedience of the terms of an injunction that
restrains the activities of a criminal street gang or any of its
members, lawfully issued by a court, including an order pending
(b) (1) A person who is guilty of contempt of court under
paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) by willfully contacting a victim by
telephone or mail, or directly, and who has been previously convicted
of a violation of Section 646.9 shall be punished by imprisonment in
a county jail for not more than one year, by a fine of five thousand
dollars ($5,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.
(2) For the purposes of sentencing under this subdivision, each
contact shall constitute a separate violation of this subdivision.
(3) The present incarceration of a person who makes contact with a
victim in violation of paragraph (1) is not a defense to a violation
of this subdivision.
(c) (1) Notwithstanding paragraph (4) of subdivision (a), a
willful and knowing violation of a protective order or stay-away
court order described as follows shall constitute contempt of court,
a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not
more than one year, by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars
($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine:
(A) An order issued pursuant to Section 136.2.
(B) An order issued pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a)
of Section 1203.097.
(C) An order issued as a condition of probation after a conviction
in a criminal proceeding involving elder or dependent adult abuse,
as defined in Section 368.
(D) An order issued pursuant to Section 1201.3.
(E) An order described in paragraph (3).
(2) If a violation of paragraph (1) results in a physical injury,
the person shall be imprisoned in a county jail for at least 48
hours, whether a fine or imprisonment is imposed, or the sentence is
(3) Paragraphs (1) and (2) apply to the following court orders:
(A) An order issued pursuant to Section 6320 or 6389 of the Family
(B) An order excluding one party from the family dwelling or from
the dwelling of the other.
(C) An order enjoining a party from specified behavior that the
court determined was necessary to effectuate the orders described in
(4) A second or subsequent conviction for a violation of an order
described in paragraph (1) occurring within seven years of a prior
conviction for a violation of any of those orders and involving an
act of violence or "a credible threat" of violence, as provided in
subdivision (c) of Section 139, is punishable by imprisonment in a
county jail not to exceed one year, or in the state prison for 16
months or two or three years.
(5) The prosecuting agency of each county shall have the primary
responsibility for the enforcement of the orders described in
(d) (1) A person who owns, possesses, purchases, or receives a
firearm knowing he or she is prohibited from doing so by the
provisions of a protective order as defined in Section 136.2 of this
code, Section 6218 of the Family Code, or Section 527.6 or 527.8 of
the Code of Civil Procedure, shall be punished under Section 29825.
(2) A person subject to a protective order described in paragraph
(1) shall not be prosecuted under this section for owning,
possessing, purchasing, or receiving a firearm to the extent that
firearm is granted an exemption pursuant to subdivision (h) of
Section 6389 of the Family Code.
(e) (1) If probation is granted upon conviction of a violation of
subdivision (c), the court shall impose probation consistent with
(2) If probation is granted upon conviction of a violation of
subdivision (c), the conditions of probation may include, in lieu of
a fine, one or both of the following requirements:
(A) That the defendant make payments to a battered women's
shelter, up to a maximum of one thousand dollars ($1,000).
(B) That the defendant provide restitution to reimburse the victim
for reasonable costs of counseling and other reasonable expenses
that the court finds are the direct result of the defendant's
(3) For an order to pay a fine, make payments to a battered women'
s shelter, or pay restitution as a condition of probation under this
subdivision or subdivision (c), the court shall make a determination
of the defendant's ability to pay. In no event shall an order to make
payments to a battered women's shelter be made if it would impair
the ability of the defendant to pay direct restitution to the victim
or court-ordered child support.
(4) If the injury to a married person is caused in whole, or in
part, by the criminal acts of his or her spouse in violation of
subdivision (c), the community property shall not be used to
discharge the liability of the offending spouse for restitution to
the injured spouse required by Section 1203.04, as operative on or
before August 2, 1995, or Section 1202.4, or to a shelter for costs
with regard to the injured spouse and dependents required by this
subdivision, until all separate property of the offending spouse is
(5) A person violating an order described in subdivision (c) may
be punished for any substantive offenses described under Section
136.1 or 646.9. A finding of contempt shall not be a bar to
prosecution for a violation of Section 136.1 or 646.9. However, a
person held in contempt for a violation of subdivision (c) shall be
entitled to credit for any punishment imposed as a result of that
violation against any sentence imposed upon conviction of an offense
described in Section 136.1 or 646.9. A conviction or acquittal for a
substantive offense under Section 136.1 or 646.9 shall be a bar to a
subsequent punishment for contempt arising out of the same act.
Last modified: February 16, 2015