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:
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.
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 in Palm Beach County?
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.
- 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 for Jury Duty in Florida?
What happens if you miss jury duty? 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.
What If I Accidentally Missed Jury Duty in Florida?
In some cases, you may wind up skipping jury duty, not on purpose, but purely because you forgot. Skipping jury duty can have serious consequences, but if it was an honest mistake, you may be able to avoid these repercussions.
As soon as you realize you’ve missed jury duty, call the number listed on your summons. If you’ve lost your summons card, call your local courthouse, and they should be able to direct you to the appropriate office.
Explain your situation, and ask how you need to proceed. Often, the court can schedule another time for you to appear for duty. If they do reschedule you, make sure you take extra precautions to avoid missing this second summons.
The worst thing you can do if you forget to go to jury duty is to just ignore it and hope the situation will go away. Call and explain that you accidentally missed your summons right away so you don’t wind up being held in contempt of court.
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.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in South Florida
If you’ve been injured in an accident, please contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Florida at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today. We have three convenient locations in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Boca Raton Law Office
7000 W Palmetto Park Rd #500
Boca Raton, FL 33433
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Fort Lauderdale Law Office
200 S.E. 6th Street #203
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – West Palm Beach Law Office
319 Clematis St #203
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Additional Florida Law Information & Resources
- Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller Palm Beach County – Jury Service
- Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller Palm Beach County – Summonsed to Jury Duty?
- Middle District of Florida, United States District Court – Frequently Asked Questions: Jury
- Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers – How Do I Find Out More About Jury Duty?
- Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida – Jury Duty FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Florida Courts – Juror Information
- Florida Courts – Jury Duty Information by County
- Seventeenth Judicial Circuit of Florida – Jury Duty