When you are summoned for jury duty, there are plenty of questions that you need an answer to. Some of these are simple as, “How long does jury duty last?” while others may be more complex. You may even be wondering, “Just what is jury duty and what does it consist of?” This article will attempt to answer some of the more pressing concerns that you may have so that you can approach your jury duty with a relaxed, optimistic attitude. There’s nothing to fear and a great deal to be learned, so why not jump in with both feet? You may as well enjoy your jury duty since it’s mandatory!
What Is Jury Duty?
It can be difficult to give a precise jury duty definition. However, there are a few characteristics that are common in most jurisdictions. Serving on a jury means that you are among the 12 people that decide the guilt or innocence of a person who is currently on trial facing charges. The verdict that you hand down may or may not be binding, as the judge in the case has the final say in the matter. They may make changes to your recommendation or follow it to the letter.
It’s Time to Play Your Part in the American Justice System
Serving on jury duty is a very important process of the American legal system as it helps guarantee every citizen’s right to a fair trial. You should think of serving on jury duty as your contribution to this vital process that keeps our country free. This is the jury duty definition you should keep in mind as you prepare to do your duty.
How Long Is Jury Duty?
One of the most pressing questions you may have will probably be, “Just how long is jury duty?” Most trials last 2-3 days, although some can certainly go longer. In general, you should expect to be on jury duty for about a week, just to be safe. As noted above, most trials will end well before that. You only have to serve on one jury, not a bunch of them in succession. If the trial should extend over 10 days, you can expect to get paid for the extra time you have to spend away from your job, school, or family.
What Is a Jury Duty Portal?
A jury duty portal, also known as a jury duty pool, is a list compiled by the court of all of the people in the area who are eligible for jury duty. The method used by the court for making selections from the jury pool will vary. In most cases, the jury selection will be made by selecting names at random from the list of registered voters or licensed drivers in the area of jurisdiction. If you have recently applied for or renewed your driver’s license or registered to vote, you may well find yourself a prime candidate to be called up for jury duty.
How Do You Get Excused From Jury Duty?
Just because you are called to report for jury duty does not mean that you will automatically be chosen to serve on the case. There are a number of factors that will determine if you are or are not right for the particular case that is being tried. The ultimate selection of jurors is up to the lawyers who are representing the case, particularly those whose are representing the defendant. This means that, through no fault of your own, a lawyer may decide to strike you from the case.
Being Excused From Jury Duty Doesn’t Excuse You For Life
If this occurs, you will be excused from serving on jury duty in this particular case. However, it does not mean that you will not be called upon to serve on a completely different case in the future. In general, if you remain eligible for jury duty by virtue of possessing a driver’s license and the privileges of a registered voter, you will very likely be called to serve on a jury at some time in the future. Think of it as the gift that keeps on giving!
What Happens If You Miss Jury Duty?
You may be wondering what happens if you miss jury duty. If you have a good reason, such as an injury or a catastrophe involving your home, you can communicate this to the court and get an exemption. However, if you simply decide to play hooky, you will face some pretty severe consequences. The penalty for failing to appear for jury duty will vary according to the state or region that you live in. However, almost all courts will send you a nasty fine, ranging from $100 to several hundred dollars. Some courts will even issue a bench warrant for your arrest. It’s better to show up.
Federal Jury Duty May Have a Different Set of Rules
You should be aware that federal jury duty involves different kinds of conditions, and that entirely different rules may apply. If you receive a jury summons to this kind of duty, you will need to contact the official United States Courts website for more information. This is the official website of the United States court system that contains all the info you need to acquaint yourself with the rules and conditions of the federal jury process.
Do You Get Paid For Jury Duty?
The biggest question that most people will have is, “Do you get paid for jury duty?” Every jurisdiction will tend to have different rules, but the short answer is most likely not. Most jury trials will tend to last less than a week. In many areas, jury service can be rewarded with a payment of up to $50 per day – but only if the trial goes overtime and your jury service exceeds a period of 10 days. The amount of your ultimate jury duty pay will reflect the period you have spent on this duty.
Federal Government Employees Will Continue to Receive Their Salary
If you are a current employee of the federal government, the situation regarding your jury duty pay will be slightly different. You will continue to be paid your regular weekly salary, regardless of how long the trial may last. Regardless of your employer, you can expect to be fully reimbursed for all reasonable expenses, such as transportation and parking, that you rack up while serving on jury duty. It’s a good idea to inform your federal employer as soon as you receive your summons so that all of the proper arrangements can be made to ensure that no misunderstandings arise.
Are You Wondering What to Wear to Jury Duty?
You may be wondering what to wear to jury duty. The answer is, just be yourself! You don’t necessarily have to rent a fancy tuxedo or formal suit in order to serve on jury duty. However, you also shouldn’t come in looking like you just rolled out of bed. This may be seen as disrespectful to the court and result in a sharp reproof, as well as some level of public embarrassment when you see what the others are wearing.
In general, it’s a good idea to pick out some formal clothing. It doesn’t have to be an expensive outfit, but it should be clean, well pressed, and presentable. Think of jury duty along the same lines as showing up to attend church or some other type of formal event. Model your wardrobe accordingly and you should be fine. As long as you show up looking like you are ready to take part in an important judicial process, you won’t be scrutinized too closely.
When You Are Called For Jury Duty, Don’t Panic
Whatever you do when you are called for jury duty, don’t panic. The experience will normally not last beyond a week. Most trials conclude within 2-3 days. You don’t have to worry about losing your job due to missing too much time off or getting too far behind in your college studies. Once you show your employer or professor your official summons to jury duty, you’ll be off the hook. There are other exceptions that you may be able to make use of. It’s an excellent idea to contact the court well in advance of your summons date so that you can make your case to be excused from serving.
Make the Most of Your Jury Duty Experience
As for the experience itself, it’s best to relax and roll with the punches. At the very least, you’ll spend some time in the company of people you would otherwise never have met. Your jury summons can be the impetus to a whole new learning experience. You’ll get to see first-hand how the American justice system works. You may even get the satisfaction of feeling that you have helped in some small way to see justice done for someone. It’s an experience that you ought to take pride in as a citizen of these great United States.