Can a judge deny you an application for a court appointed attorney and then sentence you to jail?
2 attorney answers
The trial judge holds inherent judicial power to order sanctions for contempt of court. Failing a drug screen clearly fails into the category of contempt. However, the court is limited to five (5) days, and not seven days, as a sanction See, Code of Alabama, 1975, section 12-14-31: "(a) A municipal judge may administer oaths, compel the attendance of witnesses and compel the production of books and papers, punish by fine not exceeding $50.00 and/or imprisonment not exceeding five days any person found and adjudged to be in contempt of court and shall have power coextensive with the jurisdiction of the district court to issue writs and other process and to approve and declare bonds forfeited. In contempt of court cases brought pursuant to Section 12-19-311(c) and (d), a municipal judge may punish by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500)." The municipal court judge may find a defendant in contempt and order incarceration. Ordinarily, the court will hold a due process hearing prior to incarceration to allow the contemptor to "purge" himself of the contempt, but court-appointed counsel is not required as a matter of law.