What is Jury Duty and Why do You Have to Serve?

What is Jury Duty and Why do You Have to Serve?

Jury duty is an obligation as an American citizen who receive a summons from a court to serve on a particular day and time.

What is Jury Duty?

It is your duty as an American to serve as a juror during for a particular case.  When you serve on a jury, you’re protecting the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial and an impartial jury.  If you do not appear on your specified date and time for your jury duty, you risk being held in contempt of court.

Jury duty applies to both criminal and civil cases.  In a criminal case, the government brings a case against a defendant and must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  The jury must reach a unanimous decision for either the plaintiff or defendant. In a civil case, the standard of proof is a lighter preponderance of evidence, and the jury must be unanimous unless otherwise instructed during the case.

Can I get out of serving Jury Duty?

It’s possible to request an exemption to be excused from jury duty altogether. Accepted reasons for a possible exemption vary by jurisdiction, but may include financial hardship, medical reasons, full-time student status, or caregiver duties. Exemptions aren’t guaranteed, and typically must be accompanied by a written note or proof of circumstances, such as a note from a doctor if someone is claiming a medical exemption.

Will I get fired from my job if I take time off?

Some employees fear that they will lose income by being called for jury duty. Since jury duty availability is mandated by law, employers in most states are legally required to provide an employee with time off from work in order to perform their civic duty.

Additionally, federal law prohibits employers from taking adverse actions such as employment termination against an employee who is required to report for jury duty. Adverse actions include harassment, threatening, or attempting to coerce the employee regarding jury duty. Also, an employee must be allowed to report back to work following their jury duty.

How much do I get paid to serve Jury Duty?

In New Jersey, prospective jurors who serve jury duty paid only $5.00 per day for their first three days, and $40.00 per day after that. Neither New Jersey does not require employers to pay their employees who are called for jury duty.

However, some employers do pay their employees who have jury duty, even for extended periods. For instance, if you are an employee of the State of New Jersey, you will receive your full pay during jury duty, and you will not receive the juror pay from the court. Other employers choose to pay workers up to a certain number of days while they are on jury duty.