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What Happens If You Don’t Go to Jury Duty?

Posted on January 4, 2019 in General

If you are a resident of Arizona between the ages of 18 and 75, you could receive a request for jury duty. When you receive a jury summons, do not ignore it. Under Arizona and federal law, you must appear for jury duty unless you submit an acceptable excuse. Not appearing for jury duty can lead to expensive fines and additional court appearances.

If you accidentally missed your jury duty summon, you may need the help of a Scottsdale criminal defense lawyer. If so, reach out to us today.

What Are the Jury Duty Obligations for Arizona Residents?

Every adult over the age of 18 can serve on jury duty in Arizona. A computer program performs random selections of Arizona residents to choose who serves. Not everyone will receive a jury summons in their life and some people may receive several. After you reach the age of 75, you can ask to have yourself removed from this database. You can also request removal if you have a permanent mental or physical disability.

Before the trial begins, court officials will ask you a series of questions to identify any potential biases. If the officials determine that you cannot serve objectively as a member of the jury, they will dismiss you. If officials select you, you will have to stay for the entire trial. On average, cases take about three to five days to complete.

What Are Acceptable Jury Duty Excuses?

If you cannot serve as a juror, you must submit a written reason to the court. If your excuse meets one of the eligible criteria, the court will exempt you from duty.

  • You are an active military service member.
  • You cannot attend jury duty due to a serious financial burden.
  • You cannot read or understand English.
  • You are at least 75 years old.
  • You have a mental or physical disability.
  • You are responsible for the care of another person, such as an ill relative.
  • You are outside of the jurisdiction at the time.
  • You have a serious illness or medical condition.

When you receive your jury summons, the postcard will have instructions for response. You can do so online, by phone, or by mail, depending on the court jurisdiction. You can submit your excuse or you can postpone your duty for a more convenient time.

What Does Arizona Law Say About Failure to Appear?

Arizona gives second chances for the first-time absence from jury duty. If you do not appear for your initial summons, the state will send you another jury duty request. If you do not appear for the second time, you could receive a charge for contempt of court. Under this charge, the court will require you to attend jury duty on a specific date.

In addition to the compulsory jury duty, you may receive a fine of up to $500. You may have to attend a hearing and explain to a judge your reasons for not attending jury duty. Since Arizona courts give an opportunity to excuse yourself from jury duty, these charges are preventable.

What Happens If You Are Late to Jury Duty?

Tardiness could also lead to additional consequences for summoned jurors. The court expects summoned jurors to appear on time and in a prompt fashion. If you are late to your summons, you may receive a failure to appear summons. This document will require you to appear for another jury summons within the next few months. To avoid these consequences, try to arrive at the courthouse at least 30 minutes prior to your check-in time.

What If You Need Accommodations?

The court does not accept all excuses for missing jury duty. If you have a physical or mental disability, the court requires you to provide a doctor’s note explaining why you cannot participate in the jury process. However, if the court believes you can serve despite your disability, it will provide reasonable accommodations.

You can apply for assistance to make it possible for you to serve. For example, courts may provide you with a wheelchair or other vehicle to help transport you from the courtroom to the jury room. However, you must apply at least 10 days before your court date to receive these accommodations.