Tips from a criminal defense lawyer to avoid jury duty
The dreaded letter from your Florida county clerk arrives in the mail. You have been selected for jury duty. Suddenly, you might be stuck in a jury box in a courtroom for days or even weeks. This is probably the last thing in the world you want to do.
So how do you get out of jury duty in Florida? Here's the secret: if you talk, you walk.
How does jury duty work in Florida?
Prospective jurors in Florida are randomly selected based on records kept by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). Anyone over 18 who has a valid driver’s license or a Florida Identification Card can be selected.
Whether or not you serve on a jury, by simply reporting for jury duty, you will not be asked to serve on a jury again for at least one year.
What happens if I don't report for jury duty in Florida?
If you fail to report to the court on the specified date and time you are instructed to be in court, you may be fined up to $100 and could face other penalties as well, including jail time or being required to perform community service, according to Florida Statute 40.23.
So, don't ignore that summons. You need to go to court. If you want to avoid jury duty, you need another way out.
So how do you get out of jury duty in Florida?
Here’s all you need to remember in order to avoid serving on a jury in Florida:
If you talk, you walk. If you have nothing to say, you stay.
What does this mean? During jury selection (voir dire), lawyers for both sides will ask possible jury members questions. These questions are designed to determine if a prospective jury member has any preconceived notions or biases that might affect their ability to make an impartial decision.
For example, if the court case involves a robbery and you were previously a victim of a robbery, you might still be upset about the incident. If you tell the lawyers the truth – that you’re still mad about being robbed – then odds are you will be dismissed. The more information you give the lawyers, the more likely it is that they'll find a reason they don't want you to serve on the jury.
To be clear, this still needs to be true information. You're under oath. So, don't claim to have a bias when you don't — but do give the lawyers as much truthful information as you can to increase your risk of being excused.
Get a Florida criminal defense attorney who understands jury selection
Jury selection is one of the most critical parts of a criminal trial. Many cases are won and lost based on who is on the jury. So, if you're facing criminal charges in Polk, Pasco, or Hillsborough County, you need a criminal defense attorney who knows the jury pool, the jury selection process, and how to put defendants in the best position to win. You need to get Thomas C. Grajek, Attorney at Law.
Take the guesswork out of your Florida criminal case. Contact us and schedule an appointment today.