Is It Possible To Get Out of Jury Duty in Florida?
Bill Allen | June 16, 2023 | Personal Injury
A juror is an important part of our justice system, ensuring fair and unbiased decision making. Jurors are essential to the process of reaching a verdict and acting as representatives for their community.
In order to participate in this vital role, there are several legal criteria that jurors must meet before they can serve on jury duty.
To serve on a jury, you must meet the following criteria:
- Must be a citizen of the United States of America;
- Must be at least 18 years old;
- Must be a resident of the judicial district;
- Must be able to read, write, speak, and understand the English language;
- Must be physically and mentally capable to render satisfactory jury service; and
- Must not have felony charge(s) pending against you, or have been convicted of a felony and your civil rights have not been restored.
It’s important to understand these requirements as well as potential exemptions and when a person is excused from jury duty.
Importance of Jury Duty
Juries are needed in all types of civil and criminal cases, from car accidents and slip and falls to drug crimes and DUI. Therefore, it’s important for citizens to take their civic responsibility seriously by showing up when they are called to serve on a jury.
Jury duty introduces impartial third-party decision makers – or a jury of peers – to ensure that decisions in criminal and civil cases are fair and unbiased. Through choosing randomly from the local population for jury duty, the verdict will be as just as possible.
While we all know how important jury duty is, sometimes we aren’t eligible or aren’t able to serve.
People Excused From Jury Duty
The following groups of people are excused from serving on a jury in Florida:
- People 70 years or older
- People who have active care and custody of a child or children under 10 years old
- People who are essential to caring for old or sick people
- People who have, within the past two years, served on a federal grand or petit jury panel
- Voluntary safety personnel serving a public agency
- Persons with arrest powers who are not otherwise exempt pursuant to Section 7.04 of the Plan for Qualification and Selection of Grand and Petit Juror
Many people want to know how to get out of jury duty, so it’s really important to understand that even if you are excused from serving as a juror due to one of the reasons above, this is not an automatic excusal; you must request to be excused. This request can be completed online.
People Exempt From Jury Duty
According to the United States and Florida law, certain individuals are exempt from jury duty:
- Active service members of the United States Armed Forces
- Anyone who is a member of a governmental fire or police department
- United States public officers, state or local government-appointed (elected to public office or directly appointed by one elected to office), who are actively engaged in the performance of official duties.
If you receive a notice in the mail about reporting for jury duty and you are exempt, it’s important to submit a request for an exemption.
What About Hardships From Missing Work?
In Florida, if you are called for jury duty and cannot fulfill your jury service obligations because it would disrupt your work schedule or result in a major hardship, some courts might excuse you from doing the service. However, this is not a universal rule, and simply having a job is not enough to be excused from jury duty.
You will need to request to be excused and wait for the court to provide you with an answer. Until you are excused, you should assume you have to show up for jury duty. It’s helpful to know that federal law prohibits employers from penalizing you for missing work because of jury duty.
If you do not show up for jury duty in Florida and do not have a valid excuse or exemption, you will be fined no more than $100. You can also be held in contempt of court, which can lead to jail time.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a free consultation.
Contact Our Ocala Personal Injury Law Firm in North Central Florida
We have three convenient locations in North Central Florida: