Can you be denied a lawyer in a civil hearing when you are being tried for contempt of court?

Asked 10 months ago - Phoenix, AZ

Civil contempt of court becomes criminal when incarceration is possible as punishment.....therefore shouldn't I be appointed a public defender or at least the opportunity to retain one my self.?Plaintiff asked for judge to incarcerate me for contempt of court for allegedly failing to abide by stipulation injunction order that we settled upon out of court and case was later dismissed with prejudice.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Brian Petersen


    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Without knowing the specifics, usually you are not awarded an attorney in this type of a setting because you hold the key to the jail, comply with the courts orders and you will be released.
    You need to speak with an attorney right away.

    This response is not intended to create an attorney client relationship, nor is it given as legal advice and... more
  2. Alan James Brinkmeier

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The US Constitution has been interpreted to provide legal assistance in CRIMINAL not civil cases when incarceration is possible.

  3. Arthur Richard Troell III

    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Incarceration does not necessarily convert a civil contempt into a criminal contempt IF the Court is trying to Compel you to perform an act a prior order required you to perform. However, the Court also has to give you the "keys to your jail cell" also known as a "purge" which allows you to to either avoid, or sometimes be released, by demonstrating you have fulfilled the "purge" provision.

    It truly sounds to me as though you really need to be speaking with a Phoenix based attorney. A consultation fee is far less expensive than a forced un-paid vacation at Club Hoosegow.

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