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What Should I Do if I Forget Jury Duty?

Jury duty is mandatory for all summoned citizens unless excused.
Jury duty is considered a civic responsibility.
Those who skip jury duty and do not call could find themselves in the courtroom facing contempt of court charges.
Article Details
  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Images By: Empath, Daniel Oines, Junial Enterprises
  • Last Modified Date: 10 August 2014
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Most areas require that citizens be available to serve as jurors in court, as jury duty is considered one of the main civic responsibilities. Of course, you might never get selected as part of the jury, but you still need to be available in case you are needed, which is why there are typically legal consequences of missing jury duty. In fact, a warrant may be issued for your arrest if you forget jury duty, and you may have to pay large fines unless you can provide a good reason for missing your date of legal service. The first step after you forget jury duty is to call the court as soon as you realize the error, as you may be able to plead your case without any consequences. Despite the possibility of legal penalties, it is likely that you will just be scheduled to appear in jury duty on a different date.

It is typically understandable for some people to forget jury duty, as the notice is usually mailed out weeks or even months prior to the scheduled court date. Thus, you should be aware that you are likely not the only person to have accidentally missed jury duty. If you have the summons, it is usually advised that you call the phone number to the court, which should be listed. If, however, you have misplaced the summons, you can typically find the phone number on the county court's website.

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Let the court employee who answers know that you have missed your jury duty court date. You are likely not the first person to forget jury duty, and as long as it comes across that it was an honest mistake, the employee should be able to schedule you for a different date. Of course, make it a priority to do everything possible to remember the new date so that this does not occur again. Note that if you cannot get ahold of anyone on the phone, you should consider leaving a message with a brief explanation of what happened, as well as a number to reach you.

If, on the other hand, you ignore the summons and then neglect to contact the court, you could face legal action. For example, you may have to pay hefty fines if you ignore the initial summons, especially if you also ignore the court's attempts to contact you after you forget jury duty. If you do not call the court soon after the missed jury duty, you also face the possibility of having a warrant issued for your arrest due to contempt of court, though this is considered a rare consequence.

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Discuss this Article

Fa5t3r
Post 3

@clintflint - I don't see why, unless they've got something important on at the same time. I'd love to do jury duty. I think it would just be such a different experience from everyday life, and different is always good.

It might also be because I'm a writer and I'd like to know what jury duty is like in case I want to write a story with it someday. I know my grandfather, who was a lawyer, always wanted to do jury duty to see it from the inside as well. I'm not sure if people in the legal profession are allowed to though.

clintflint
Post 2

@bythewell - If that's the case, then you were lucky. I know people who forgot jury duty and had to pay quite a large fine. I think jury duty laws vary according to where you live, but in some places they are fairly draconian, because they get so many people trying to wriggle out of it.

bythewell
Post 1

I've been called in for jury duty several times now and I've never actually had to serve on the jury. It just ends up being a few hours in a crowded room, watching a video on how it all works and then they pick out the jury and that's it, everyone else goes home.

I don't know if that's how it works in all areas, but that's how I've always experienced it. The only time I've received a failure to appear for jury duty notice was when I went overseas for a year and didn't get the letter. They were pretty understanding about it when I called though.

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