What happens if you skip jury duty?

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Jury duty can be intimidating for many and difficult to attend for those who need to arrange for child care or take time off of work.

But what happens if you skip it altogether? In south Georgia, including Savannah, the consequences could be serious. According to the Southern District of Georgia, you are legally required to respond to your jury summons notice.

If you do not report for jury duty, even if you feel you do not qualify for it, then you will have to appear before a U.S. district judge or a U.S. magistrate judge to defend why you did not appear.

You will have to explain why you should not be held in contempt for failure to comply with the summons and hope that your explanation will constitute good cause.

If your defense does not constitute good cause for why you did not report, you could face a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment up to three days, community service or a combination of the three.

So, what do you do if you receive a letter (or in Chatham County’s case, a postcard) summoning you for jury duty? In south Georgia, the next steps are pretty simple.

First, figure out if you actually received a summons or if you received a letter to determine if you qualify for jury duty.

For the letter, visit the link here and scroll down until you see the “E-Juror” button on the left side. After clicking the button, you’ll be taken to a portal that will require you to put in your nine-digit participant number. Next, you will be required to fill out a questionnaire to determine your eligibility.

This letter does not qualify as a summons, it just determines if you are eligible.

After this, you will be added to a pool of other qualified residents in your area. If you are randomly selected from this pool to serve, you will receive a summons.

The summons for federal court will come through the mail and will tell you what day and time you should appear as well as the location of your court.

The summons for Chatham County court will be a postcard with a juror reference number. To find more information about your summons, you will have to go online here and enter that reference number along with your birthdate. On the website, you will be able to find information on where to go, where to park and when to appear.

If you are appearing at the Chatham County Courthouse, you will want to bring that postcard with you in order to check in.

Before arriving at court, remember to make sure you’re wearing the appropriate attire. For federal court, this includes a collared shirt, tie and coat for men and a pantsuit, skirt or dress for women. It is recommended that women also bring a jacket or sweater to account for the temperature of the courtroom.

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