Commonly Asked Questions about Jury Duty1. How was I chosen for jury service?
Jurors must be citizens of North Carolina and residents of the county where summoned; be at least eighteen years old; not have served as a juror during the previous two years; be physically and mentally competent and able to understand English; and not be a convicted felon (unless citizenship has been restored).
Yes. A jury summons is an official court summons, and failure to report as required could mean that the court could hold you in contempt and/or impose a $50 fine for not responding to a jury summons.
You may ask a District Court Judge to defer your service to a date that is more convenient. You must have a pressing reason why you cannot serve on the date on the summons, e.g., prior vacation plans. You may also ask to be excused if you have a medical reason that prevents your service or you have served as a juror within the past two years, or are otherwise ineligible to serve. If your jury summons does not tell you how to request a deferral, call the Clerk of Courts Office in your county.
It is against the law for an employer to fire or demote an employee because they serve as a juror. However, the law does not require that the employee be paid in full while serving.
Yes. You will receive $12 for every day you serve, and if you are seated on a trial and serve for more than five days, you will be paid $30 for every day after those first five days. The Clerk of Court will issue your jury payment within a few days of your jury service.
Your jury summons should tell you the room to which you should report at the courthouse. Report to that room at the time listed on your summons. You will be checked in when you arrive by a member of the Clerks staff.
If your summons does not include that information, call the Clerk of Courts office for your county and ask if there are reserved, marked parking areas for jurors. If not, part in any undesignated space close to the courthouse.
In smaller counties, your jury summons should tell you whether you are summoned for a criminal or civil term of court. In larger counties with several court sessions held at the same time, you may hear either criminal or civil matters.
Bring a book or other reading materials, or needlework, crossword puzzles, stationery, or other materials to occupy your time. While efforts will be made by the court to reduce delays in trial starts and to avoid long waiting periods for you, some waiting time should be anticipated while jurors are chosen to sit on a jury.
You should dress comfortably, but not too casually. Dress for court as if you were going to work or to church. Many judges do not allow anyone to come to court wearing halter or tank tops, cut off jeans, or shirts with offensive wording. Remember you will be acting as part of the court while serving as jurors, so dress appropriately. Also, you might want to wear layered clothing since courtroom temperatures may vary considerably, requiring the removal or addition of a sweater or jacket.
If you are seated for a trial, you must serve until the trial ends, which may be from two days to several weeks. However, most jurors only serve for one or two days.
In an emergency, you may be contacted through the Clerk of Courts Office, or at an emergency number given to you when you arrive at the courthouse. The court staff will make certain that you get the message.
When you report to the courthouse, you will be shown an orientation video that explains what to expect as a juror. You will also be given additional information from the court staff. Then all jurors present will take an oath as jurors and be given a red juror badge to wear until they are released from jury duty by the judge. Once a trial begins, the judge will instruct you on your duties as a juror.
It is extremely rare for a jury to be "sequestered" or kept in a hotel during a trial. You should expect that you will be allowed to go home at the end of each court day.
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