What Happens If I Don’t Show Up For Jury Duty?

July 16, 2023 Posted In Uncategorized

In California, as in other states, being summoned for jury duty is a civic responsibility that citizens are obliged to fulfill. There are consequences if you fail to appear for jury duty without a valid reason.

What Happens If I Don't Show Up For Jury Duty?

Importance of Jury Duty

Jury duty is a critical aspect of maintaining a just and fair legal system. By serving on a jury, citizens actively participate in upholding the principles of democracy and ensure that the accused receive a fair trial by their peers. Jury duty also safeguards against the concentration of power within the judicial system and promotes transparency and accountability.

Consequences of Failing to Appear for Jury Duty

The court takes non-appearance seriously as it can lead to delays in legal proceedings, higher costs, and the potential compromise of a fair trial. When you are summoned for jury duty, you receive a notice informing you of the date, time, and location to appear. Ignoring this summons can result in the following repercussions:

Second Summons

Most jurors will receive a second summons, similar to the first, that requires you to appear for jury duty on a different date. This notice also typically comes with a warning, reminding you of your obligation to appear and the potential legal consequences for failing to do so. If a fine is issued, California law caps it at $250 for a first violation.

Failure to Appear Notice

Ignoring the second summons or not providing a valid reason for not appearing will often lead to a failure to appear notice. This notice demands that the juror appear in court and will impose a fine if they do not. A second violation can result in a fine of up to $750. 

Order to Show Cause

The court will issue an order to show cause, requiring the juror to attend a hearing and explain why they missed the initial court date. Third and subsequent violations can also result in fines of up to $1,500. If a juror does not appear for this hearing, they can be held in contempt of court. Criminal contempt of court is a serious offense that can lead to $1,000 in fines and/or five days in jail. It will also be seen on the juror’s background check. 

Valid Excuses for Missing Jury Duty in California

While jury duty is mandatory, the court understands that certain situations may arise that prevent individuals from serving on a specific date. Here are a few valid excuses for missing or postponing jury duty: 

Medical Reasons

If you have a medical condition or are undergoing treatment that prevents you from attending jury duty, you can request a postponement. A doctor’s note or medical certificate may be required as evidence to support your request.

Extreme Financial Hardship

If serving on a jury would result in significant financial hardship due to the loss of income from work, you may be able to request a postponement. Some courts may require a letter from your employer to verify the conflict.

Caregiver Obligations

If you are the primary caregiver for a dependent, such as a child or elderly relative, and there is no alternative care available during your jury duty dates, you may be able to request a postponement or be excused.

Lack of Transportation 

If you have no reasonably available means of transportation, you may be able to postpone your service. 


If you would have to travel over 90 minutes to the court, it can be a valid excuse for missing or postponing jury duty. 

Active Military Duty

If you currently serve in the military, you can request a postponement of jury duty by providing proof of your active duty status.

Recent Jury Service

If you have served on a jury within the past year, you may be allowed to postpone your service.

Most courts allow for rescheduling or postponement in such cases, but it is essential to follow the proper procedures and provide adequate documentation if required. There are also specific disqualifications that may make you ineligible to serve on a jury, such as being a convicted felon or lacking the required citizenship status. If you believe you have a disqualification, you must inform the court as soon as possible with appropriate documentation.

Our Riverside personal injury lawyers are available 24/7 to answer any questions you might have.

Request a free consultation
request a free ,br>consultation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.