It is unlikely that anyone wants to get a letter asking them to report for jury duty. While it is a chore to some, it is a requirement by law. However, there are instances when someone might forget to go. When this happens, it is crucial that we understand our rights as citizens and what the next steps are.
Fortunately, if you are ahead of the game, there are ways to postpone or reasonably excuse yourself from jury duty. If you get that letter in the mail, remember these tips.
What to Expect If You Fail To Show Up For Jury Duty
To be eligible for jury duty, you must be over the age of 21, a US citizen, clear of felonies, able to read and write English, and not be on active duty with the Armed Forces. If you match all of these descriptions, you will likely get a summons once in your life.
Letters get lost, days can fly past us, and it can become easy to miss jury duty. If this occurs, and you willfully fail to appear in the jury, you will be in civil contempt with the court. Following this no-show, the court might issue an order for you to explain why you did not appear for the jury and show good cause. In the event that you are unable to show good cause, you will be fined $500. This fine can rise to $1,000 if you fail to respond to the summons.
You Can Postpone Jury Duty
If you are able to get ahead of possibly missing your summons, you can apply for postponement. This can only be done if you have yet to postpone in the past, and you must show up for your agreed-upon postponement date.
To apply for postponement, you must contact your local jury office in person, by phone, email, or in writing. The court will then send you a date that is, at most, six months after your original court date. However, if you are a full-time student or prospective juror, the date might extend to no longer than 12 months after your initial court date.
Excusable Reasons To Miss Jury Duty
When done at an appropriate time, there are valid excuses to get out of jury duty if necessary. You should never deceit or lie to get out of this civil duty, but the state does allow for certain circumstances.
- A juror who served on the jury in the last two years.
- A nursing mother with a written statement from her physician.
- A licensed healthcare worker.
- If the juror’s absence from work would be a risk to public safety, health, or welfare.
- Someone 75 years or older.
- Someone whose religious institution obligations prohibits them from serving on the jury.
What To Know When You Do Go To Jury Duty
In the scenario that you can attend your court date, there are some tips to remember to ensure you are prepared and ready for the obligation.
Firstly, make sure that you are going to attend at the right time and in the right place. Then, try to wear appropriate attire, such as business casual clothing, and turn off all electronic devices. Lastly, you can either bring your own lunch or get lunch outside of the courtroom during the allotted time.
While it is no one’s favorite, jury duty is a citizen’s responsibility. If you have any questions, contact the team at Baldwin & Vernon.