Once an American citizen in California turns 18 years old, he/she will be eligible for jury duty once every 12 months. Since anyone who is arrested and charged with a criminal offense has a right to a jury trial, jurors are responsible for determining a verdict.
However, just because you are called for jury duty doesn’t mean that you will be seated during a trial each year. Rather, you will receive a notice in the mail to appear for the selection process in a courthouse.
Upon receiving a jury duty summons, you are legally obligated to respond, whether by showing up or providing a legitimate reason if you cannot appear on the scheduled date. Failure to appear for jury duty or respond to a summons can be viewed as “contempt of court.”
A first offense can result in second notice with a new date and a warning from the judge. However, failure to adhere to the judge’s orders or failing to appear after receiving the second notice can result in a jail term of up to five days and a maximum $1,000 fine.
If you cannot appear in court, the following are valid excuses for missing jury duty:
- You have a health condition
- You have personal commitments you can’t reschedule
- You are caring for another person between 8 AM and 5 PM
- You have no access to transportation
- Traveling to court is a physical, mental, and financial burden
- You are an active member of the U.S. military
- You are a police officer
- You are a student
- You are under court-appointed conservatorship
- You have been convicted of a felony and have yet to restore your rights
Additionally, you could also request to postpone your jury duty at a convenient time. All you need to do is fill out Part A of your summons, contact the county to register as a juror, and then go online and request a postponement.
If you have been arrested for skipping jury duty or have a warrant out for your arrest in Santa Rosa or Sonoma County, contact the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. today at (707) 418-5352 and schedule a free case review.