An Indirect Criminal Contempt charge (ICC) is a criminal charge for the violation of a civil Protection From Abuseorder. An ICC is filed by the police if they believe that the defendant has not followed the terms of the PFA. The defendant’s conduct does not necessarily need to constitute a separate crime. Once an ICC charge has been filed, the defendant will be arraigned and bail will be set. The ICC hearing will be scheduled within 10 days of the charge being filed. At that hearing, the case will be heard by a Berks County Court of Common Pleas Judge and will be prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office. The police officer who filed the ICC charge will be present as well as any witnesses to the violation (most often this is the plaintiff in the PFA action). The charge must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, just as with any other criminal charge. An ICC conviction is not a slap on the wrist; it carries a maximum permissible sentence of 6 months of incarceration and a $1,000 fine and will remain on your criminal record. In addition to the criminal penalties, an ICC conviction can result in an extension of the original PFA order.
If you’ve been charged with violating a PFA in Berks County, it is in your best interest to be represented by a knowledgeable attorney at your PFA violation hearing. Contact our Reading, PA criminal law attorneys at 610-372-5128 or email us at [email protected]