When a person is summoned to serve on a jury, that activity is called jury duty. The jury is responsible for listening to the case to determine the guilt or liability of a defendant. Jury duty is mandatory, unless the juror is excused from serving on the jury by the court.

How Can a Juror Miss Jury Duty?

An individual can miss jury duty in two ways:

  • Failing to respond to a jury summons
  • Failing to show up of jury duty

What Happens If I Miss Jury Duty?

The exact punishment for missing jury duty depends on whether a judge finds you in contempt of court.

What Is Contempt of Court?

Contempt of court is to defy, disrespect, or impede the court’s authority or ability to perform its duties. Contempt can be criminal or civil.

  • Criminal contempt involves disrupting court proceedings. An example of criminal contempt is if a witness refuses to testify in court even though they have been formally summoned to do so.
  • Civil contempt involves failing to follow a court order. Missing jury duty is a civil contempt.

What Happens If I Am Found in Contempt for Missing Jury Duty?

The presiding judge will send the potential juror or juror notice of the contempt. The individual is given an opportunity to have a hearing. A jury trial is not guaranteed.

The court does not have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person is in civil contempt.

What Happens If I Am Found in Civil Contempt of Court?

A person found in civil contempt may be sentenced to:

  • Time in jail
  • Pay fines

The exact amount of time in jail depends on the jurisdiction. It can be a couple days or few months. For example, in Florida, a person can be sentenced to about six months in jail for missing jury duty.

Fines also vary by jurisdiction. An individual may pay anywhere from $100 to $1,000 for missing jury duty.

Should I Contact a Lawyer If I Miss Jury Duty?

You can face serious penalties for missing jury duty. If you miss jury duty, you want to consult a criminal lawyer. Your lawyer may help you avoid the serious consequences of missing jury duty.