What Happens If I Don’t Show Up for Jury Duty in Destin, FL?

Jury duty is often treated like an annoyance or a joke. However, juries are a cornerstone of justice in the American court system. 

Serving on a jury is part of the responsibility of being a citizen of the U.S. The jury component of the trial system is intended to bring fairness and impartiality to each court case, whether it relates to a wrongful death or a criminal charge.

Because juries are so integral to the American courts, the court system takes jury no-shows seriously. If you’ve received a summons, you may be wondering what happens if you don’t show up for jury duty in Destin, FL.

Do I Have to Participate in Jury Duty?

Not everyone who receives a summons for jury duty must serve. But you have to show up at the courthouse or otherwise petition for an exemption to be excused from service. If you qualify for an exemption, you may still participate if you choose, but you’re not required to.

Exemptions from Florida jury duty can apply if:

  • You’re an out-of-state student
  • You’re 70 years old or older
  • You’re pregnant or have children under the age of six
  • You’re a caregiver for someone with a serious disability
  • You’re active-duty military or a full-time law enforcement officer
  • You’ve already served on a jury in Okaloosa County in the past year 

Note that “missing work” isn’t among the reasons someone may be exempt from jury duty in Destin, FL. In fact, federal laws prohibit employers from penalizing employees for serving on a jury. Laws require employers to grant time off work if employees are selected to serve on a jury.

Can I Postpone Jury Duty?

A court may allow you to postpone jury service. Florida Statute 40.23 allows postponements of jury service for up to six months.

If a juror wishes to postpone their service, they should make a written or oral request for postponement to the courthouse listed in the summons. They can even specify a date to postpone service to.

Check with the Okaloosa County clerk for more information about your specific circumstances and how to apply for a postponement. You may contact the Jury Coordinator at (850) 651-7200 ext. 4307.

Penalties for Failure to Appear

Did you know that a jury duty summons is like a court order? In Florida, failure to comply with a jury summons means that you may be in contempt of court and subject to a $100 fine. In rare circumstances, you may have to attend a court hearing pursuant to an Order to Show Cause and explain to a judge why you didn’t report for jury duty.

Depending on the hearing outcome, you may be fined, assigned to another round of jury duty, or given community service. So don’t take a jury summons lightly!

How Do I Respond To Jury Duty Summons?

Call the Okaloosa County clerk’s office for clarification if you don’t understand the documents included in your summons. The papers you’re sent will have the details about when and where you’re to report for jury duty. 

You should also find information about applicable dress codes, parking information, and what you can and cannot bring into the courtroom. For example, cell phones are usually prohibited, but you may be allowed to bring a book to read during the selection process.

If you’ve applied for an exemption or a postponement, make sure to keep copies of all communications, even emails, just in case problems arise later.

Jury duty is part of being a Florida citizen and an essential part of your civic duty. You represent a critical part in the wheels of justice, so take your summons seriously. 

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Northwest Florida

If you need legal assistance, contact the Destin personal injury lawyers at Brannon & Brannon Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:

Brannon & Brannon Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
(850) 863-5297

Brannon & Brannon Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541
(850) 790-0243