What Happens if I Don’t Show Up For Jury Duty in Florida?
November 8, 2023 | Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers | Florida Law
Jury duty is a civic responsibility that ensures the right to a trial by a fair and impartial jury. In Florida, like elsewhere in the United States, failure to comply with a jury summons can have legal repercussions.
It is important to know what to do if you cannot attend jury duty and the consequences of failing to show up.
Failure to Appear
Failing to appear for jury duty can result in a fine of up to $100 as per Section 40.23 of the Florida Statutes. You may also face contempt proceedings, which could result in community service, jail time, or other sanctions. It’s imperative to contact the Jury Department immediately if you fail to report. Doing so can allow you to reschedule your service and avoid penalties.
Jury Duty Duration
The duration of jury duty in Florida is typically one day or one trial. If the trial you are assigned to concludes on the day of your summons, your jury service is complete. However, if the trial extends beyond the initial day, you must fulfill your duty until the trial concludes.
Even if English isn’t your first language, you must still report to the courthouse as per your jury summons. Once in the courtroom, the judge will assess your language comprehension to determine whether you can be excused based on language barriers. This evaluation occurs each time you’re summoned for jury duty, irrespective of previous exemptions due to language issues.
Jury Selection Process
In Florida, jurors are randomly selected from a list supplied by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. This list is updated annually to ensure a fair representation of the community. This random selection, governed by Section 40.221 of the Florida Statutes, ensures the judicial system’s integrity by promoting a diverse jury pool.
Misplacing Jury Summons
If you misplace your jury summons, you will need to determine your report number and service date. Contacting the jury department to retrieve your reporting information is essential. Your full name and date of birth will help recover the necessary details.
To serve as a juror, you must be over 18, a U.S. citizen, a legal resident of Florida, possess valid identification, have no felony convictions unless your civil rights have been restored, and have no pending prosecutions against you. Additionally, you should not have any mental or physical handicap that could hinder your ability to serve as a juror.
Addressing Long Trials
Some trials are expected to last longer than one day. You can express your concerns to the judge if this poses a significant hardship. The judge may excuse you if the trial’s duration will cause extreme hardship.
The court allows a one-time postponement to accommodate important appointments or vacations. You may request a one-time postponement if you cannot attend jury duty on the specified date. You can select a new date, which should be within six months from the original date. Submitting your request at least three business days before the summoned date is essential.
After requesting a postponement, it’s crucial to verify the status of your request to ensure your service date has been rescheduled successfully. A new summons with the updated service date will be mailed to you if approved.
Valid Reasons for Jury Excusal
Several circumstances may qualify you for excusal from jury service, including being an expectant mother, 70 years or older, or being a full-time student between the ages of 18 and 21, as stipulated in Florida Statute 40.013.
Requesting and Confirming Jury Excusal
If you qualify for an excusal, you can submit your request online, via email, or by mail following the stipulated procedure. It’s essential to confirm the status of your excusal request to avoid any legal repercussions.
If transportation is a challenge, consider utilizing public transportation services in Florida. Alternatively, you can request a postponement to make necessary arrangements, ensuring you fulfill your civic duty while addressing personal challenges.
Fulfilling Your Civil Duty Is Essential
Jury duty is a fundamental aspect of the judicial process, embodying the community’s involvement in the justice system. Understanding the process, requirements, and consequences of failing to show up for jury duty in Florida is crucial for every citizen. By adhering to the stipulated procedures and communicating effectively with the court, you can navigate the jury duty process smoothly while fulfilling your civic duty.
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