ORS 33.015
Definitions for ORS 33.015 to 33.155

For the purposes of ORS 33.015 (Definitions for ORS 33.015 to 33.155) to 33.155 (Applicability):


“Confinement” means custody or incarceration, whether actual or constructive.


“Contempt of court” means the following acts, done willfully:


Misconduct in the presence of the court that interferes with a court proceeding or with the administration of justice, or that impairs the respect due the court.


Disobedience of, resistance to or obstruction of the court’s authority, process, orders or judgments.


Refusal as a witness to appear, be sworn or answer a question contrary to an order of the court.


Refusal to produce a record, document or other object contrary to an order of the court.


Violation of a statutory provision that specifically subjects the person to the contempt power of the court.


“Punitive sanction” means a sanction imposed to punish a past contempt of court.


“Remedial sanction” means a sanction imposed to terminate a continuing contempt of court or to compensate for injury, damage or costs resulting from a past or continuing contempt of court. [1991 c.724 §1; 2005 c.22 §23]

Source: Section 33.015 — Definitions for ORS 33.015 to 33.155, https://www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/bills_laws/ors/ors033.­html.

Notes of Decisions

Under former similar statute (ORS 33.010)

Punishment for civil contempt arising from disobedience of lawful judgment or decree is restricted to cases in which violation of court order is wilful and with bad intent. State ex rel Oregon State Bar v. Wright, 280 Or 713, 573 P2d 294 (1977)

Provisions of Oregon Juvenile Code, including [former] ORS 419.476 and [former] ORS 419.478, which vest exclusive jurisdiction in juvenile court of persons under 18, do not vest jurisdiction in juvenile court of contempt proceedings arising out of juvenile’s refusal to testify before grand jury. State v. Tripp, 36 Or App 141, 583 P2d 591 (1978), Sup Ct review denied

Where pro tem court reporter failed to produce transcripts after time extension had expired, her conduct constituted contempt of Court of Appeals by officer of court. In Matter of Wilson, 42 Or App 515, 601 P2d 133 (1979)

Where court reporter did not file transcripts by their due dates and did not file requests for time extensions, she was in default in those cases, and her failure to comply with Court of Appeals’ orders to produce transcripts was contempt of that court by officer under this section. In the Matter of Virginia Hanks, 44 Or App 521, 606 P2d 1151 (1980), aff’d 290 Or 451, 623 P2d 623 (1981)

Witness before grand jury who declines to answer particular questions has not refused to answer questions until there is adjudication of justification for refusal, court order to answer questions and subsequent refusal by witness. State ex rel Grand Jury v. Bernier, 64 Or App 378, 668 P2d 455 (1983)

Criminal contempt proceeding for disobedience of court order or judgment is not “criminal prosecution” within meaning of Article I, section 11 and defendant is not entitled to jury trial. State ex rel Dwyer v. Dwyer, 299 Or 108, 698 P2d 957 (1985)

Citation to wrong subsection of statute, when act being sanctioned is stated plainly in order, does not render order ineffective. State v. Crenshaw, 307 Or 160, 764 P2d 1372 (1988)

In contempt proceeding for disobedience of court order, defendant may challenge validity of underlying order. State v. Crenshaw, 307 Or 160, 764 P2d 1372 (1988)

Where keeper of records had turned over police internal investigation records pursuant to subpoena, and court after in camera inspection ordered keeper to release those records to defendant, keeper of records could not refuse to comply with order based on contention that court should have quashed the subpoena. State v. Heisler, 106 Or App 7, 806 P2d 1154 (1991)

Where trial court treated contempt under this section as non-criminal but imposed criminal sanction and provided nothing for defendant to purge contempt, state was required to prove all elements of contempt beyond reasonable doubt. Wynne and Wynne, 106 Or App 210, 806 P2d 723 (1991)

Defendant was entitled to assert constitutional right against self-incrimination in civil contempt hearing relating to nonpayment of support where testimony could be used in criminal action for nonsupport. State ex rel Leopold v. McCallister, 106 Or App 324, 807 P2d 325 (1991)

Trial court need not make separate findings regarding willfulness and bad intent to support judgment of contempt. Couey and Couey, 312 Or 302, 821 P2d 1086 (1991)

Where state proved existence of valid court order, father knew of order and did not comply, state established prima faciecase for civil contempt. State ex rel Gibbon v. West, 118 Or App 580, 848 P2d 637 (1993)

Willful disobedience of court order to pay child support is established by failure to pay unless defendant proves inability to pay. State ex rel Mikkelsen v. Hill, 315 Or 452, 847 P2d 402 (1993)

Where judgment contained discrete order covering same subject as unmerged property settlement promise, breach of settlement promise by one party did not excuse obligation of other party to comply with judgment. Barrett and Barrett, 126 Or App 62, 867 P2d 540 (1994), aff’d 320 Or 372, 886 P2d 1 (1994)

Transfer of prisoner to out-of-state corrections facility and destruction of prisoner’s prepared legal materials in retaliation for filing suit was contempt. Smith v. Dept. of Corrections, 126 Or App 721, 870 P2d 254 (1994)

In general

Disrespectful behavior constitutes misconduct whether addressed to judge personally or to the office of judge. State v. Baker, 126 Or App 508, 868 P2d 1368 (1994)

Defendant’s representation that court believed was false did not occur “in presence of court” when court obtained knowledge of falsity of representation by personal observation outside courtroom, off record, while in recess. State v. Ferguson, 173 Or App 118, 20 P3d 242 (2001)

Acting willfully does not require conscious objective or purpose to accomplish particular result. In re Chase, 339 Or 452, 121 P3d 1160 (2005)

Accidental disobedience of court order is not done “willfully.” State v. Montgomery, 216 Or App 221, 172 P3d 279 (2007)

For purpose of determining whether person is in contempt of court, subpoena is form of process. State v. McGee, 347 Or 261, 220 P3d 50 (2009)

Where defendant, who believed in good faith that estranged husband had dismissed restraining order against defendant, was found with husband in violation of restraining order, defendant did not “willfully” disobey restraining order. State v. Nicholson, 282 Or App 51, 383 P3d 977 (2016)

Trial court did not err in finding defendant in contempt for willfully violating restraining order despite defendant’s claim that defendant had not read restraining order, because choosing to ignore known court order is sufficient to demonstrate willfulness. State v. Guzman-Vera, 305 Or App 161, 469 P3d 842 (2020), Sup Ct review denied

Judgment against petitioner under this section qualifies as “conviction” under Immigration and Nationality Act. Diaz-Quirazco v. Barr, 931 F3d 830 (9th Cir. 2019)

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