CHAPTER 5A.

Contempt.

ARTICLE 2.
Civil Contempt.

Section

5A-21. Civil contempt; imprisonment to compel compliance.

(a) Failure to comply with an order of a court is a continuing civil contempt as long as:

(1) The order remains in force;

(2) The purpose of the order may still be served by compliance with the order;

(2a) The noncompliance by the person to whom the order is directed is willful; and

(3) The person to whom the order is directed is able to comply with the order or is able to take reasonable measures that would enable the person to comply with the order.

(b) A person who is found in civil contempt may be imprisoned as long as the civil contempt continues, subject to the limitations provided in subsections (b1) and (b2) of this section. Notwithstanding subsection (b2) of this section, if a person is found in civil contempt for failure to pay child support or failure to comply with a court order to perform an act that does not require the payment of a monetary judgment, the person may be imprisoned as long as the civil contempt continues without further hearing.

(b1) A person who is found in civil contempt, but was not arrested, for failure to comply with a nontestimonial identification order issued pursuant to Article 14, Nontestimonial Identification Order, of Chapter 15A of the General Statutes may not be imprisoned more than 90 days unless the person is arrested on probable cause.

(b2) The period of imprisonment for a person found in civil contempt shall not exceed 90 days for the same act of disobedience or refusal to comply with an order of the court. A person who has not purged himself or herself of the contempt within the period of imprisonment imposed by the court under this subsection may be recommitted for one or more successive periods of imprisonment, each not to exceed 90 days. However, the total period of imprisonment for the same act of disobedience or refusal to comply with the order of the court shall not exceed 12 months, including both the initial period of imprisonment imposed under this section and any additional period of imprisonment imposed under this subsection. Before the court may recommit a person to any additional period of imprisonment under this subsection, the court shall conduct a hearing de novo. The court must enter a finding for or against the alleged contemnor on each of the elements of G.S. 5A-21(a), and must find that all of elements of G.S. 5A-21(a) continue to exist before the person can be recommitted. For purposes of this subsection, a person's failure or refusal to purge himself or herself of contempt shall not be deemed a separate or additional act of disobedience, failure, or refusal to comply with an order of the court.

(c) A person who is found in civil contempt under this Article shall not, for the same conduct, be found in criminal contempt under Article 1 of this Chapter. (1977, c. 711, s. 3; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1080, s. 1; 1999-361, s. 1.)


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