FAQS About Juries and Jury Duty

For anyone who has faced the request for jury duty, or has wondered how it works, this is the article to read. Below you will find a series of the most frequently asked questions about juries, jury duty, and more. If you are concerned about a recent jury duty request, or have missed your jury duty appearance, contact a trusted criminal defense lawyer for advice on what to do next. In the meantime, read the questions below for answers to your initial inquiries.

What is the Age Requirement to Serve as a Juror?

The national age requirement to be an eligible federal court juror is 18 years old. Those over 70 years of age may request to be excused from jury duty.

How Did the Courts Get My Information?

It varies from state to state. Check with your county clerk’s office for information about how your city gets your information for jury duty. For example, in Indiana, they use the State’s voter registration and Supreme Court’s Jury List to find prospective jurors.

Is Jury Duty Mandatory?

Yes, jury duty is mandatory and you must attend; however, it is not technically illegal for someone to fail to appear, so there are no criminal consequences.

What Happens if I Fail to Appear?

If you fail to appear after receiving an official summons, there are no legal consequences or penalties; instead, you will simply be placed back into the jury pool for future selection.

What Happens if I am Unable to Make My Summons Date?

In the initial questionnaire (Juror Qualification Questionnaire), you are not yet being summoned. The actual summons will come at a later date, after the second questionnaire. When you get the second questionnaire (Federal Court Jury Service Questionnaire), you can list the dates you are unable to serve in Part 1, Question #7. If you are unable to serve the majority of the one month term requested, you will need to fill out a hardship request form. If you cannot serve because of a medical condition, submit a Physician’s Statement with your initial questionnaire (Juror Qualification Questionnaire).

What is the Difference Between a Trial and a Grand Jury?

Grand juries are different from trial juries because they are assembled in order to determine whether or not there is enough probable cause to persecute. They do not rule on guilt or innocence. In fact, grand juries only hear arguments from the prosecution, not the defense.

What Kind of Case Will I Be At?

Most cases are civil, but you may be at a criminal case. You won’t know anything until the juror introductory assembly.

I Served Jury Duty in a County Court Already. Why Am I Called to Serve Again?

You must also serve in a federal court. Then you are exempt from jury duty.

I Already Filled Out a Questionnaire. Why Do I Have to Fill Out Another?

Sometimes the Federal Court Jury Service Questionnaire comes months after the Juror Qualification Questionnaire. And since your information could have changed in that time, they send a second questionnaire to confirm accuracy.

I Filled Out the Questionnaire, But I Forgot to Send it in Within the 10-Day Deadline. What Do I Do Now?

Just send it in as soon as possible. The courts understand people go out of town, vacation, or have other circumstances in their life, so there is no penalty, you will just be on a waiting list.

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