Getting a jury duty summons is rarely something someone looks forward to, but people in this country have a right to jury trials. So consider serving on a jury as performing your civic duty. One thing you should not do is ignore that summons. You can actually end up facing punishments of your own. Calling a Bergen County, New Jersey criminal defense lawyer over an accusation of skipping jury duty might seem silly, so follow our advice and read on to see how this system works instead.
Will I Be Punished For Missing Jury Duty?
Generally, when the state wants you to do something and you ignore its request, there will be some kind of punishment. Failing to appear could net you a fine of up to $500, payable to the county where you were summoned. If you are called by the court to appear and show why you did not comply with the summons, you can be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to up to three days in jail.
I think we can all agree that just accepting the jury summons seems like the smarter option here.
What Kind of Jury Will I Serve On?
You could serve as a petit juror. This is a member of the jury at a trial, either criminal or civil. So you could get to decide whether or not someone is guilty or not guilty of a crime. You might get to weigh in on a case where someone got injured by a defective product. There are many types of cases that can use juries.
You could also serve as a grand juror. Grand juries operate a bit differently. They can be used to indict people for crimes. You are given evidence to look at and the prosecution argues their case, and then you can decide if someone should be charged with a crime. It’s a big responsibility.
Because the type of service needed can vary, how long your jury duty lasts can be less predictable. Some are summoned for a few days and then not needed, while others get involved in a case that takes a month.
What If I Have a Legitimate Reason for Not Being Able to Attend Jury Duty?
The state of New Jersey does understand that there are some times that someone simply cannot attend jury duty though. You can often request to serve as a juror at a different time in the future. You can also show the court that you:
- Could suffer financial hardship as a result of serving on a jury
- Have a medical inability to serve as a juror
- You care for someone with no alternative caregiver
- You are on active duty as a member of the military
So, exhaust your legal options before ignoring that summons.
Talk to a Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing a jury trial of your own, it is probably wise to look for representation. Contact the Law Office of E. Gregory M. Cannarozzi and our team will schedule a consultation. We can tell you more about what our lawyers can do to defend you from any charges.