What Happens If I Don’t Show Up for Jury Duty in West Palm Beach?
Gregg Hollander | September 22, 2021 | Florida Law
Receiving mail from the court can be stressful. Many people feel frustrated when they open a jury summons. After all, being summoned to serve on a jury can mean missed work and other inconveniences. Still, serving on a jury is an important part of each citizen’s civic duty.
In the United States, individuals are guaranteed the right to trial by a jury of their peers. This is true for both criminal and civil courts.
Jurors are required to serve in many types of cases. Some examples of civil cases include:
- Car accident cases
- Falling accident cases
- Construction site accident cases
- Wrongful deaths
- And more
Despite the importance of jury duty, it can be inconvenient. Therefore, some people think about not showing up for jury duty when they receive a summons.
Below, we will discuss what happens if you do not report for jury duty in West Palm Beach.
Who Serves on Florida Juries?
All residents of Florida with a state driver’s license or identification card who are over the age of 18 are eligible to serve. If you have state identification, your name will be included on a list of potential jurors in the county where you live.
Eligible citizens can be called to serve one time each year. Even if you are summoned, you will not necessarily serve on the jury. However, you must be present at the specified location on the date noted on your summons.
To serve on a Florida jury, you must be:
- A United States citizen
- At least 18 years old
- A resident of the relevant jurisdictional county
- Free of any felony charges or current prosecutions
Although felons are barred from being jurors, those who have had their rights restored can serve.
Can I Avoid Jury Duty?
Some people are exempt from jury duty. If you qualify for an exemption, you can still choose to serve on a jury. But serving is not a requirement for exempt individuals.
Under Florida state law, jury duty exemptions are in place for the following:
- Those over 70 years of age
- Students attending school in other counties or states
- Those who are pregnant
- Law enforcement officers and investigators
- Military personnel serving in other locations
- Caregivers of children under six years of age
- Caregivers for those who have disabilities
- Those that served on a jury in the county in the past year
Many people believe that missing workdays or losing employment is a valid exemption for jury duty. This is not true.
In fact, state laws prohibit businesses from retaliating against their employees if they are summoned for jury duty.
What Happens if I Do Not Show Up?
Failing to obey a court summons for jury duty can have serious consequences. In Florida, those who do not respond to a jury duty summons can be held in contempt of court. They may also be fined $100.
If you are in contempt of court, you will be required to appear at a hearing. This hearing is known as an “Order to Show Cause.”
During this hearing, you are required to provide information about why you failed to appear for jury duty. Judges have the option to order another jury duty term, community service, a fine, or jail time.
If you fail to appear at the Order to Show Cause hearing, the judge can issue a warrant for your arrest. Other criminal charges may follow.
When You Receive a Jury Summons
After receiving a summons, it is vital to read all of the documentation carefully. The summons will include instructions for how to respond, request an exemption, or ask to postpone service.
It is crucial to respond to a jury summons immediately. Even if you are seeking exemption, you should never ignore a summons.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, please contact our West Palm Beach injury lawyers at the location nearest you for a free consultation:
Hollander Law Firm – Boca Raton Law Office
7000 W Palmetto Park Rd #500
Boca Raton, FL 33433
Hollander Law Firm – Fort Lauderdale Law Office
200 S.E. 6th Street #203
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Hollander Law Firm – West Palm Beach Law Office
319 Clematis St #203
West Palm Beach, FL 33401