Any act calculated to embarrass, hinder, or obstruct a court. Contempts are of two kinds: direct and indirect. Direct contempts are those committed in the immediate presence of the court; indirect is the term mostly used with reference to the failure or refusal to obey a court order. Any party found in contempt of court normally receives sanctions.
An action that interferes with a judge's ability to administer justice or that insults the dignity of the court. Disrespectful comments to the judge or a failure to heed a judge's orders could be considered contempt of court. A person found in contempt of court can face financial sanctions and, in some cases, jail time.
An act of defiance of court authority or dignity. Contempt of court can be direct (swearing at a judge or violence against a court officer) or constructive (disobeying a court order). The punishment for contempt is a fine or a brief stay in jail (i.e. overnight).