When your mail contains an envelope from the Florida state courts, it can be concerning. Many people are frustrated and annoyed by the arrival of a jury summons in their mailbox.

Being summoned for jury duty can result in missed work and other inconveniences. But jury duty is part of each citizen’s civic duty. 

This important duty is a key component of the American judicial system. Those who are accused of crimes are guaranteed the right to judgment from a jury of their peers.

Juries can provide judgments on a wide range of cases. These include car accidents, wrongful death cases, criminal cases, and falling accidents.

However, many people consider ignoring a summons. Below, we will discuss what happens when you ignore a jury summons in Tampa, FL.

Qualifying for Jury Duty

Not everyone in the United States is eligible to serve on a jury. To serve on a Florida jury, the person must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Live in the court’s county of jurisdiction
  • Not be a felon
  • Not be currently prosecuted for a crime

Those who meet these qualifications are required to appear for jury duty when they receive a summons.

Possible Exemptions for Jury Duty

Some people may be exempt from jury duty. Those with relevant exemptions may serve, but they are not required to do so.

Florida jury duty exemptions include:

  • People over 70 years of age
  • Students attending school out of state
  • Pregnant women
  • Law enforcement investigators and officers
  • Those who are  caring for children under 6 years of age
  • Those who have served in the past year
  • Those who are responsible for caring for disabled persons
  • Military personnel serving outside of the state

Concern about losing your job or missing work does not exempt you from jury duty. Florida state laws prevent businesses from retaliating against employees who serve on juries.

What Happens if I Ignore a Jury Summons?

A jury summons is a legal court order. If you fail to obey this type of order, you may face legal consequences. 

Failing to appear for jury duty in Tampa, FL, may result in a person being held in contempt of court. You may also face a fine of up to $100.

If the judge decides to hold you in contempt of court, you will be required to appear at a hearing. This is known as an “order to show cause” hearing.

During this hearing, you will be allowed to state your reason for ignoring the previous jury summons.

In many cases, the judge may require you to serve on another jury. The judge may also require you to perform a certain amount of community service hours.

Occasionally, judges may sentence people to jail time for skipping a jury summons. Those who fail to appear for the hearing may face the prospect of arrest and possible criminal charges.

Immediate Response Is Required

If you have received a jury summons, it is vital to read the enclosed documents carefully. The summons should include instructions for how to respond. 

It is important to respond to the jury summons as soon as possible. This is true even if you plan to request an extension or exemption.

The summons will also include information about where you should park, what to wear, and where to go for your jury appointment. The Clerk of Court can answer any questions regarding your jury summons.

Contact a skilled legal professional if you have further questions regarding the jury summons and how to respond. 

For more information, call us at (813) 222-8545 or reach out to us via email by visiting our contact us page.