What Happens If You Do Not Show up for Jury Duty?

According to LegalZoom, the penalty for a missed jury summons varies widely from one state to the next. Penalties can range from small and large fines to jail sentences, so experts recommend that those who are called to perform jury duty take the summons seriously.

The CEO of So So Def served a three-day jail sentence for ignoring a jury summons, notes LegalZoom. Fines for would-be jury members range from $2,000 to nearly a million dollars, suggesting that courts around the country take the matter very seriously but vary widely in their punitive decisions.

The official website of the Delaware Judiciary for Delaware State Courts explains that its judges may impose a $50 fine and a prison sentence of up to 30 days. The website FloridaJuryDuty.com reports that Florida residents may be held in Contempt of Court if they ignore their jury summons, a charge that can result in imprisonment or a heavy fine.

These significantly different approaches to ignoring a jury summons emphasize the importance of reporting for jury duty or at least informing the court of the inability to do so. LegalZoom further explains that it is illegal for employers to terminate an employee who is absent because of jury duty.