Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 18.2. Crimes and Offenses Generally
Chapter 10. Crimes Against the Administration of Justice
12/5/2022

Article 5. Contempt of Court.

§ 18.2-456. Cases in which courts and judges may punish summarily for contempt.

A. The courts and judges may issue attachments for contempt, and punish them summarily, only in the following cases:

1. Misbehavior in the presence of the court, or so near thereto as to obstruct or interrupt the administration of justice;

2. Violence, or threats of violence, to a judge or officer of the court, or to a juror, witness, or party going to, attending, or returning from the court, for or in respect of any act or proceeding had, or to be had, in such court;

3. Vile, contemptuous, or insulting language addressed to or published of a judge for or in respect of any act or proceeding had, or to be had, in such court, or like language used in his presence and intended for his hearing for or in respect of such act or proceeding;

4. Misbehavior of an officer of the court in his official character;

5. Disobedience or resistance of an officer of the court, juror, witness, or other person to any lawful process, judgment, decree, or order of the court; and

6. Willful failure to appear before any court or judicial officer as required after having been charged with a felony offense or misdemeanor offense or released on a summons pursuant to § 19.2-73 or 19.2-74.

B. The judge shall indicate, in writing, under which subdivision in subsection A a person is being charged and punished for contempt.

C. Nothing in subdivision A 6 shall be construed to prohibit prosecution under § 19.2-128.

Code 1950, § 18.1-292; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 2019, c. 708.

§ 18.2-457. Fine and imprisonment by court limited unless jury impaneled.

No court shall, without a jury, for any such contempt as is mentioned in the first class embraced in § 18.2-456, impose a fine exceeding $250 or imprison more than ten days; but in any such case the court may, without an indictment, information or any formal pleading, impanel a jury to ascertain the fine or imprisonment proper to be inflicted and may give judgment according to the verdict.

Code 1950, § 18.1-295; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1999, c. 626.

§ 18.2-458. Power of judge of district court to punish for contempt.

A judge of a district court shall have the same power and jurisdiction as a judge of a circuit court to punish summarily for contempt, but in no case shall the fine exceed $250, or the imprisonment exceed ten days, for the same contempt.

Code 1950, § 18.1-293; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1999, c. 626.

§ 18.2-459. Appeal from sentence of such judge.

Any person sentenced to pay a fine, or to confinement, under § 18.2-458, may appeal therefrom to the circuit court of the county or city in which the sentence was pronounced, upon entering into recognizance before the sentencing judge, with surety and in penalty deemed sufficient, to appear before such circuit court to answer for the offense. If such appeal be taken, a certificate of the conviction and the particular circumstances of the offense, together with the recognizance, shall forthwith be transmitted by the sentencing judge to the clerk of such circuit court, who shall immediately deliver the same to the judge thereof. Such judge, sitting without a jury, shall hear the case upon the certificate and any legal testimony adduced on either side, and make such order therein as may seem to him proper.

Code 1950, § 18.1-294; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 2013, c. 615.