Commonly Asked Questions about Jury Duty

1.    How was I chosen for jury service?
2.    Who is eligible to serve as a juror in the North Carolina courts?
3.    Do I have to respond to the jury summons?
4.    What if I can’t serve on the date I have been told to report to the courthouse?
5.    Will my employer fire me if I serve as a juror?
6.    Will the State pay me for jury duty?
7.    Where do I go to report for jury duty?
8.    Where can I park?
9.    What types of cases will I hear?
10.  What should I bring with me to the courthouse?
11.  What should I wear?
12.  How long will I have to serve?
13.  If there is an emergency at home, how will my family contact me?
14.  How will I know what to do as a juror?
15.  Will I be locked up in a hotel during the trial?
16.  Why are some jurors dismissed and not allowed to sit for a trial?


  1. How was I chosen for jury service?
  2. Every two years a three-person Jury Commission for your county oversees the compiling of a Master Jury List of county residents who are either licensed drivers or registered voters, or both. Your name was drawn at random from that Master List.

     

  3. Who is eligible to serve as a juror in the North Carolina courts?
  4. 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).

     

  5. Do I have to respond to the jury summons?
  6. 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.

     

  7. What if I can’t serve on the date I have been told to report to the courthouse?
  8. 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 Court’s Office in your county.

     

  9. Will my employer fire me if I serve as a juror?
  10. 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.

     

  11. Will the State pay me for jury duty?
  12. 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.

     

  13. Where do I go to report for jury duty?
  14. 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 Clerk’s staff.

     

  15. Where can I park?
  16. If your summons does not include that information, call the Clerk of Court’s 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.

     

  17. What types of cases will I hear?
  18. 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.

     

  19. What should I bring with me to the courthouse?
  20. 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.

     

  21. What should I wear?
  22. 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.

     

  23. How long will I have to serve?
  24. 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.

     

  25. If there is an emergency at home, how will my family contact me?
  26. In an emergency, you may be contacted through the Clerk of Court’s 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.

     

  27. How will I know what to do as a juror?
  28. 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.

     

  29. Will I be locked up in a hotel during the trial?
  30. 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.

     

  31. Why are some jurors dismissed and not allowed to sit for a trial?
    When your name is randomly drawn to take a numbered seat in the jury box at the start of a trial, the attorneys will ask you questions about yourself. If you know the parties to the case or any of the court officials, or if your answers to questions lead the attorneys or the judge to feel that you could not be objective in considering the evidence in this trial, you will be dismissed, with the court’s thanks.

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