Is It Possible To Get Out of Jury Duty in Florida?
October 9, 2022 | Winters & Yonker, P.A. | Florida Law
Have you ever had the perfect week planned, only to go to the mailbox and find a court summons with your name on it? What if you’re selected, and the trial lasts for weeks? Or what if you have an important event on or around the summons date?
If you have ever been in a situation like the one above, you’ve probably wondered whether there were ways you could get out of jury duty.
The truth is that jury duty is every citizen’s civic duty, but you can be excused in a variety of circumstances. This blog post will fill you in on the details.
If you live in the state of Florida, there are several specific qualifications you must meet in order to be eligible to serve jury duty. To be qualified, you must:
- Have the ability to speak, read, and write the English language
- Be physically and mentally capable
- Be a citizen of the United States of America
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have resided in the judicial district for at least one year
- Have no felony charges leveled or pending against you (or you must have had your civil rights restored)
If you have been summoned for jury duty and do not meet one or more of the above requirements, contact the court and let them know.
After you receive your summons, note the date and time when you need to be at the courthouse. Every citizen summoned is legally obligated to serve on a jury if called, so this is a serious matter. Make sure you do not have plans on the day of the summons because the proceedings could take most of the day.
If you have a job, let your employer know about your summons as soon as possible. As it is your legal obligation, employers are required by law to accommodate you.
The Ins and Outs of Jury Selection
After you arrive at the courthouse, you must be interviewed before you can be seated on the jury. You will have an interview with the judge and the lawyers on each side of the case.
Keep in mind that each of these people will be speaking directly to you. In the case of the lawyers, each one will have a concerted strategy designed to uncover your biases and sympathies.
You may be asked questions about your beliefs and decision-making. Lawyers often ask these questions in unconventional ways that are designed to uncover cognitive bias and help them determine whether you would rule in their side’s favor.
The State of Florida allows individuals to be excused from jury duty if they can demonstrate that serving would cause “undue hardship or extreme inconvenience.”
This could certainly apply if you have just experienced a personal injury after a car accident, for example. Additionally, some individuals can be permanently excused from jury duty if they meet any of the following factors:
- They care for a child under the age of 10 who would suffer undue harm as a result of their absence
- They provide essential care for an elderly person
- They are over 70 years old
- They have served on either a federal grand jury or petit jury panel in the last two years
- They are a police officer or have arrest powers
- They are a member of an ambulance squad
The state’s website has more information on legally acceptable reasons for excusal. Ultimately, it is important to keep in mind that even if you do not fall under one of these categories for excusal, you still may not need to actually serve on the jury. During jury selection, you may be removed by the lawyers for one of the parties involved in the case.
Contact the Tampa Personal Injury Law Firm of Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Tampa today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.
We proudly serve Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, and its surrounding areas:
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
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1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805