The jury system is a crucial part of the U.S. judicial system. It ensures that an individual’s constitutional rights are upheld, as it is their fundamental right to be guaranteed a speedy trial by a jury of their peers. Without juror’s participation, cases cannot be heard. As such, eligible individuals are randomly summoned to serve on a jury in civil and criminal matters. Jury duty is mandatory. Therefore, if you do not appear on the specific date and time you’ve been summoned, you could be subject to an array of penalties, including fines, community service, and even possible jail time. If you skipped jury duty, it is in your best interest to contact our competent Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorneys, who can help you avoid harsh penalties.
What is jury duty?
Jury duty or jury service is a civic duty that all U.S. citizens 18 years or older must participate in if summoned. If you have a voter’s registration card or driver’s license, have no felony convictions, you will likely receive a summons to serve on a jury in your lifetimes, as individuals are eligible to serve every six years. Jury service requires randomly selected jurors to review trial evidence and determine the facts to reach a ruling in favor of the plaintiff or defendant, ultimately resolving the case. For example, if two parties argue about the events leading up to a car crash, the jury will examine the facts to decide which witness to believe and how to rule. At the end of a trial, the jury will deliver a verdict.
It is imperative to note that if you are summoned for jury duty, that does not automatically mean you will be selected to serve as a juror. You must undergo a screening before being called to be on a jury. Additionally, the court does accept particular excuses for skipping jury service. You can ask for a postponement in which you appear for jury service later. However, unless you receive an excusal, you are required to appear once you’re summoned.
What happens if I don’t show up for jury duty in New York?
If you do not show up for jury duty, you will automatically receive a new summons for jury duty on a different date. If you fail to respond or appear after you’ve received your second summons, you may be subject to a fine of up to $250 for non-compliance. If you fail to appear for jury service after receiving a second summons, you will likely be held in contempt of court. As such, you could face a Class A misdemeanor in the second degree, which can be punishable by up to one year of imprisonment.
Fortunately, if you have a valid excuse, such as financial hardship for skipping jury duty, you can avoid these harsh penalties. If you’ve been charged with contempt of court, you need a determined attorney from Grunwald & Seman, P.C., who can defend your rights. Our firm is prepared to fight for you today.