Skip to Content
Free Criminal Consultation! 805-467-6060

The Consequences of Missing Jury Duty in CA


When American citizens turn 18 years old, they will automatically be eligible for jury duty. Not only is it a civic responsibility to serve on a jury, but it also gives us a chance to directly impact our justice system. 

Serving Jury Duty in California 

Although California residents must participate in jury duty once during the calendar year, most only a few times in their lives. If you receive a notice in the mail that you have been chosen to serve on a jury, you must respond by completing online registration. 

Keep in mind, when you receive a notice, you are summoned for jury service for an entire week. Each night during the week, you must check your reporting status to determine if you must appear in court the following morning. 

What Happens If I Fail to Appear for Jury Duty? 

If you are scheduled to report for jury duty but end up failing to appear, you will be sent a notice stating you missed your jury duty service. You will be assigned a new date for jury duty and there will be instructions on the notice to follow. 

Failure to appear on the new date will result in being found in contempt of court, which carries a maximum fine of $1,500 and/or a jail sentence of up to five (5) days, according to California Code Civil Procedure Section 209. 

Legal Excuses for Missing Jury Duty 

It is not uncommon to be scheduled for jury duty at an inconvenient time, which is why California residents have an opportunity to defer or postpone service at a more appropriate time. You may postpone jury duty service for up to 90 days from the original summons date, while you may defer jury service if you experience a marginal or temporary hardship, such as being a full-time student or undergoing a medical procedure. 

If you wish to receive a deferral, there are a number of excuses or grounds that can be used to be excused from jury duty altogether. You can request to be excused by either completing the Jury Questionnaire, submit (in writing) your excuse to the Jur Administration Office before your jury service date, and provide the required information. 

The following are the common excuses to get out of jury duty in California: 

  • You are not a U.S. citizen 

  • You are younger than 18 years of age 

  • You do not possess sufficient knowledge of the English language 

  • You are on active duty in the U.S. military 

  • You are a law enforcement official 

  • You are a full-time caregiver 

  • You are incarcerated or currently on felony probation or parole 

  • You have a medical hardship 

  • You will suffer financial hardship for missing jury duty (i.e., you would lose salary, wages, or commission during jury service) 

  • You have transportation hardship (i.e., you do not have a reasonably available means of private or public transportation) 

  • You already served jury duty within the past 12 months 

If you have been arrested in Santa Barbara, call Appel & Morse at (805) 467-6060 or complete our online contact form today for a free initial consultation! More than four decades of combined legal experience. 

Share To: