How Does Federal Jury Duty Work? Here’s What You Need To Know

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Explained—How Does Federal Jury Duty Work?

When you receive your first jury duty summons, you may get excited and imagine yourself on the set of Boston Legal. The reality is not as glamorous.

Jury duty means requesting time off from your employer and preparing yourself for the case, which may last for quite some time. It can become a major inconvenience in your life, and you have to do it—if you skip it, you’ll face sanctions.

What exactly is expected of you as a juror? How does federal jury duty work? In this article, we’ll discuss these topics and show you how you can to notify your employer of your jury duty and not get in trouble for it.

How Does Federal Jury Duty Work?

To understand how jury duty works, you need to get familiar with the selection process first. Courts go through driver’s license and voter registration lists to create a database of names. Then, they leave out all ineligible people and randomly select 12 individuals.

Consult the table below to see the eligibility criteria:

Eligibility FactorsIneligibility Factors
  • Being at least 18 years of age
  • Having a U.S. citizenship
  • Being eligible to vote
  • Speaking and reading English
  • Being a resident of a particular state or county with a state-issued document
  • Having no charges or being under indictments for theft, felony, or misdemeanor
  • Being over 70 years of age
  • Having a felony conviction with a sentence longer than one year
  • Having mental and physical disabilities
  • Being a member of the fire and police departments
  • Going away on active military duty
  • Being an unemployed caregiver

Once your name pops up during selection, you’ll need to:

  1. Appear in court on the day written in your jury summons
  2. Fill out a questionnaire
  3. Answer lawyers’ questions to ensure you’ll have no conflict of interest
  4. Appear in court for every case proceeding

Federal Jury Duty—How Long Does It Last?

Around 85% of all jury duties last for only a day. Still, some cases can go for months, depending on the complexity and the seriousness of the allegation. Most judges will give you an accurate estimate of how long a particular case may last.

How Do You Get Selected for Federal Jury Duty?

Courts use software to randomly select names from their database of eligible citizens. The process is random—you may never get called up while others will keep getting summoned. Federal courts will exempt you if you have participated in three cases within two years.

Jury Duty—Does It Pay?

Federal courts pay $50 per day and don’t force employers to continue paying your salary. If a state or county court summons you, the amount you receive will vary, depending on the court. The following table contains articles that will let you know how much jury duty pays in different states:

MarylandNorth CarolinaPennsylvania
New York StateNew JerseyTennessee
ColoradoWashington StateMissouri
MassachusettsUtahSouth Carolina
West VirginiaLouisianaIowa
HawaiiNew MexicoMississippi
MaineNebraskaNew Hampshire
Rhode IslandDelawareMontana
WyomingAlaskaSouth Dakota
VermontNorth DakotaDistrict of Columbia

Jury Duty and Employers—How To Handle Being Absent

Jury duty is an important aspect of the U.S. judicial system, but it doesn’t go hand in hand with having a full-time job. You may be absent for a while, and employers don’t appreciate that.

Employers often threaten their employees with:

Employers behave in this fashion because they think they can, but that’s not the case. The law protects employees from such situations and defines employer penalties if they try to muscle you into not showing up in court.

To avoid your employer trying something of the sort, you’ll need to inform them and let them verify your jury duty. If you’re not sure how to go about it, DoNotPay can help.

Use DoNotPay’s Help To Send a Request for Jury Duty Leave

With DoNotPay, you can avoid having to confront your employer directly and still ensure they do not breach your legal rights. Our app will generate a professional leave request letter applicable to all state laws, and you’ll be able to go to court carefree! You only need to:

  1. Navigate to the Request Jury Duty Leave feature
  2. Answer a few questions
  3. Upload a photo of your jury summons

You can let us send the letter to your employer quickly or download the document for later.

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