What Happens If I Don’t Show Up for Jury Duty in Jacksonville?
Jury duty has a bad reputation. Trial by jury is one of the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Yet, there’s a common attitude toward jury duty as an inconvenience or something to be avoided.
If you’ve been summoned for jury duty and are thinking about simply not showing up, you might want to think again.
Skipping jury duty in Jacksonville, FL, comes with legal consequences such as court summons, fines, and even possible jail time.
How Does Jury Duty Work?
When trial by jury is requested, a Jacksonville courthouse will select a group of people at random to report for jury service. The judge and attorneys involved in the case will choose the jurors they believe will give a fair ruling on the matter at hand.
Not every person summoned for jury selection will be required to serve on the jury. However, the individuals who are selected will be required to make themselves available for all hearings.
Attending court hearings can mean having to make arrangements to be absent at work and arranging childcare and transportation to and from the courtroom.
Why Did You Get Summoned For Florida Jury Duty?
How Can I Be Excused from Jury Duty?
You may be able to be excused from jury duty in Jacksonville, FL if you meet one of the criteria for dismissal.
Some common reasons for excusal include:
- Caretaking responsibilities for a child under the age of six
- Responsibilities to work or attend school out of state
- Full-time law enforcement personnel
- Deployed military personnel
- Certain governmental personnel
Those who are not U.S. citizens and those who have prior felonies may also be excused from serving on a jury.
Health, religious beliefs, and other personal responsibilities are usually not enough to be excused from jury duty. However, during the selection process, you might be permitted to voice any additional concerns that may present a hindrance to your ability to serve.
You can only be required to serve on a jury once a year. If you’ve already served, you will be excused but still must show up for selection.
It’s also illegal for your employer to fire or otherwise penalize you for missing work due to a jury summons.
What Are the Consequences of Not Showing Up?
Failure to show up to jury duty can have major consequences. Whether you forgot or simply chose not to go, the consequences are the same. You risk being held in contempt of court. You may also receive a fine.
First, you’ll receive a summons to report to a Jacksonville court for an “Order to Show Cause” hearing. When you attend your hearing, you’ll be expected to explain to the judge why you failed to appear when summoned.
Depending on the judge and the explanation you give, you may receive a fine. Usually, you’ll be reassigned to a new selection pool and given another opportunity to fulfill your civic duty. It’s possible to receive additional sentencing for community service or a contempt of court charge.
If you also fail to appear at the Order to Show Cause hearing, you face even bigger problems. At this point, the judge may issue a warrant for your arrest. This may be accompanied by additional criminal charges and higher fines.
Some people may simply see jury duty as an inconvenience. For others, it might be difficult to arrange transportation, miss work, and ensure other responsibilities are met.
However, skipping out on Jacksonville jury duty comes with a high cost. The hassle of dealing with additional hearings, an arrest, or fines is a much bigger inconvenience than showing up to court as summoned.
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