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?
- 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.