What happens if I don’t show up for jury duty?

jury section in court

The United States Constitution affords citizens numerous rights, including the right to a speedy jury by a trial of peers. This right safeguards against potential abuse of power by legislatures, thereby ensuring that the fundamental rights of individuals are upheld in both civil and criminal proceedings. Although few people look forward to jury service, it is a mandatory civic duty. If you are summoned for jury duty, you are legally required to show up on the specific date and time the notice stipulates. Failure to appear can result in significant consequences. If you’ve skipped jury duty, it is in your best interest to contact a determined  Escambia County Criminal Defense Lawyer who can help you avoid harsh penalties.

What is jury duty?

Firstly, you can be summoned to serve on a jury if you live in the United States and have a driver’s license or voter registration card. Jury duty or jury service is vital to the judicial system as jurors review evidence in a trial to determine the outcome of a case. Jurors are citizens who have been randomly selected. At the end of a trial, jurors deliver the verdict in favor of the defendant or the plaintiff.

The court sends out jury summons requiring individuals to appear for jury duty on a specific date and time. It is imperative to note that just because you have been summoned for jury service does not necessarily mean you will serve in a case. You will undergo screenings in which the court can dismiss you. However, if the court does select you to serve on a jury, failure to appear on the trial date will result in significant penalties.

What are the potential consequences of not showing up for jury duty?

As mentioned above, jury duty is mandatory. Therefore, if you have been summoned for jury duty, you must show up on the trial date. If you know you have a conflict, you must notify the court. Fortunately, you have the opportunity to schedule a new date for jury service that is more convenient for your particular circumstances. If you have a hardship that prevents you from being able to serve, such as caring for young children, you can file a claim with the court to be excused. Generally, the court will honor valid excuses for hardship claims. However, unless the court excuses you or has rescheduled to serve on a jury on a different date, you must appear for jury service.

If you ignore the first summons, the court will send you will likely receive a second summons. If you’ve never missed jury duty, you may not face any consequences for failing to respond to the first summons. However, if you ignore the second summons, you will likely be subject to significant penalties, including a fine of up to $100 for contempt of court. Failure to appear for court to serve on a jury can result in substantial fines, hundreds of hours of community service, and even possible jail time.

If you’ve received a summons for jury duty, you must appear on the specific date and time. If you have a valid excuse for skipping jury service, contact an experienced lawyer from The Law Office of James M. Burns, who can help you prevent harsh penalties.