What are the potential consequences of skipping jury duty in New York?

In the United States, the jury system, which is an integral part of our judicial system, hinges upon the participation of jurors. Without available jurors, civil and criminal cases cannot be heard. The U.S. Constitution affords individuals the right to a speedy trial by a jury of peers. Therefore, when an individual is summoned to appear for jury duty, they must comply. Failure to appear can lead to civil and criminal penalties. If you skipped jury duty in New York, it is in your best interest to contact a skilled Rockland County Criminal Defense Attorney who can help you avoid the harsh penalties of contempt of court. 

What is jury duty?

Jury duty or jury service is a mandatory civic duty for U.S. citizens who are summoned. If you have a driver’s license or voter registration card and have never been convicted of a felony, the state can summon you to serve on a jury. You will receive a notice to appear at a specific date and time if summoned. If you are selected for jury duty, you will appear for trial, where you will be presented with the facts of a case and rule either in favor of the defendant or plaintiff. Sometimes, you may even determine how much an award a plaintiff should receive.

Generally, if you know you have a conflict with serving jury service on a specific date, you can reschedule your service. You may even be excused from serving on a jury if you can provide the court with proof of financial hardship or other circumstances preventing you from serving. However, without receiving an excusal, failure to appear can result in harsh penalties.

Is skipping jury duty a crime in New York?

In New York, you can receive civil and criminal penalties if you do not attend jury duty. If you fail to respond or appear for jury service on the specific time and date that the summons stipulates, you will automatically receive a new summons with a new date for jury service. If you fail to show up on the specified date and time after receiving the second summons, you may be subject to a fine of up to $250 for non-compliance. Therefore, if you do not show up after the first summons, you will likely not face any consequences. However, failure to appear after a second summons will.

As mentioned above, you can face criminal penalties for skipping jury duty. If you fail to respond or show up for jury serivce, you will be held in contempt of court. In New York, if you’re held in contempt of court, you could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor in the second degree, which is punishable by up to one year in prison. With that being said, without a valid excuse for skipping jury duty, you could face significant consequences that disrupt your life.

If you or a loved one has been charged with contempt of court for skipping jury duty, you need a Rockland County criminal defense attorney from the Law Office of Carl Spector for quality legal representation. Our firm is prepared to combat your criminal charges to prevent harsh penalties.