Receiving a summons in the mail for jury duty doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be chosen. After filling out the questionnaire, the court will mail you again to let you know if you need to show up to the courthouse. When you’re called for jury duty, you must show up at the courthouse and go through a jury selection process. Jury duty goes smoothly when you prepare yourself in advance and know how the process goes.
What You Need
Show up to court not only ready to serve but also to get past the security check without problems. Look up ahead of time what items you’re not allowed to bring inside the building. This list of items may surprise you because some courts don’t allow you to bring smartphones or any electronic devices inside the building. Bring a book, crossword puzzles or something else that’s not electronic to stay entertained while you wait.
Also, wear court-appropriate attire, which is virtually the same as business casual. You can wear slacks and a dress shirt or blouse. Don’t wear flip flops, jeans, short skirts or revealing clothing. Your stomach, back and shoulders must be covered. Bring a jacket or sweater in case you find it too cold inside the courtroom. You’ll also need to bring your jury summons and photo ID. A notepad and pen aren’t mandatory, but you should bring these items to jot down important information if you’re chosen to serve.
Yes, you have to go. Not showing up could have serious repercussions. The court can issue an arrest warrant if you don’t show up. Aim to arrive at court early to allow time for potential traffic delays. Everyone wants to go home as quickly as possible. When someone is late, it delays trials.
Most courts show potential jurors an orientation video to acquaint them with the process. Then, the jurors are taken inside the courtroom for the jury selection process.
Take It Seriously
Most people dread jury duty, but it’s important to take your role seriously if you’re chosen to serve on a jury. If you were the one on trial, you would want the jury to pay attention and care about justice being served. You will be paid each time you’re required to show up to the courthouse, even if you’re not chosen to be on a jury. How much you’re paid depends on the specific court. Many courts also compensate you for travel costs. Federal law prohibits employers from harassing or threatening you for missing work for jury duty.
Do your best to view jury duty as a positive experience. Preparing activities to do while waiting will help ease any negative feelings you have toward sitting at the court all day. Each state has its own laws surrounding jury duty, so always check your state and local laws to be well prepared.
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