Jury Service

Find out what to expect when you arrive, how to conduct yourself, and what you need to do when you serve as a juror.

Selection / Eligibility

At least every two years, a three-person Jury Commission for each county oversees the compiling of a master jury list of licensed drivers and / or registered voters. Names are drawn at random from this list. A jury summons is printed and issued to jurors by U.S. mail.

Qualified jurors must be

  • Citizens of the United States
  • Residents of the county where the summons was issued
  • At least 18 years old 
  • Physically and mentally competent
  • Able to understand English

Qualified jurors must NOT

  • Have served as a juror during the previous two years
  • Have served a full term as a grand juror in the last six years
  • Have been convicted of a felony (unless citizenship rights have been restored)

Excuse or Deferral

A jury summons is an official court summons. The court could hold you in contempt and / or impose a $50 fine for each time you fail to appear. If you lose your jury summons, contact the Clerk of Superior Court office in your county as soon as possible to obtain reporting information.

Procedures to request an excuse or deferral vary from county to county. Read your summons for specific instructions. Generally, you must contact the clerk of superior court office or the chief district court judge’s office if you want to be excused or defer your jury service. You must have a compelling reason why you cannot serve on the assigned date.

Any person summoned as a juror who is a full-time student at an out of state educational institution and who wishes to be excused or who is 72 years or older and who wishes to be excused, deferred, or exempted, may make the request without appearing in person by filing a signed statement of the ground of the request at any time five business days before the date upon which the person is summoned to appear.

Any person summoned as a juror who has a disability that could interfere with the person's ability to serve as a juror and who wishes to be excused, deferred, or exempted may make the request without appearing in person by filing a signed statement of the ground of the request, including a brief explanation of the disability that interferes with the person's ability to serve as a juror, at any time five business days before the date upon which the person is summoned to appear. Upon request of the court, medical documentation of any disability may be submitted. Any privileged medical information or protected health information described in this section shall be confidential.

Accommodation Needs

The Judicial Branch is committed to ensuring that individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to benefit from all court services, programs, and activities. If you require an accommodation to participate in jury service (not for an excusal or deferral), please let the court know as soon as possible prior to the date you are summoned to appear. This will allow sufficient time to make arrangements to accommodate your request. You may request a reasonable accommodation:

  1. In person.
  2. By contacting your county’s Disability Access Coordinator (DAC) by phone, letter, or email. You may email the DAC directly by emailing (CountyName).DAC@nccourts.org (for example, Wake.DAC@nccourts.org). You may find their name and phone number on this statewide list.
  3. By completing the online Disability Access Request Form. The online form will send an email with your request details to your county DAC and a confirmation of your request to your email. The request will be received and processed by the local DAC.

Reporting

Your jury summons provides the date, time, and place to report for jury duty. Check in with the jury staff when you arrive.

Bring reading materials to occupy your time. While efforts will be made to reduce delays and to avoid long waiting periods, some waiting time should be anticipated.

Dress comfortably, but not too casually. Dress for court in a manner that maintains the dignity of the court.  For example, many judges do not allow anyone to come to court wearing halter or tank tops, cut-off jeans, or shirts with offensive wording and / or images.  You will be acting as part of the court while serving as a juror, so dress appropriately. Wear layered clothing since courtroom temperatures may vary considerably.

Scams

Serving

The Clerk of Court will issue payment by check by U.S. mail a few days after your jury service concludes.

  • Trial jurors receive $12 for the first day of service and $20 for each day thereafter. If you serve more than five days, you will receive $40 per day.
  • Grand jurors receive $20 per day.

It is against the law for an employer to fire or demote an employee because he or she served as a juror or grand juror. However, the law does not require that the employee be paid in full while serving. Notify your employer as soon as you receive a jury summons and check with your employer regarding the payment policy for jury service. Read more in the Employers' Guide to Jury Service.

In smaller counties, your jury summons may tell you whether you are summoned for a criminal or civil session of court. In larger counties, several court sessions are held at the same time, so you may hear either criminal or civil matters. If you are seated for a trial, you must serve until the trial ends, which could be two days to several weeks. However, most jurors only serve for one or two days.

If a family emergency occurs while you are serving, you may be contacted through the Clerk of Court’s office or at an emergency number given to you by a bailiff. Court staff will make certain that you receive any emergency messages.

When you report to the courthouse, you may be required to watch a juror orientation video. Court staff will give you additional information. All jurors will take an oath. Once a trial begins and you are sworn in, you will be given a juror badge to wear until you are released by the judge. The judge will instruct you on your duties as a juror.

It is extremely rare for a jury to be sequestered or kept in a hotel during a trial. You should expect to go home at the end of each court day.

Juror Orientation Video

If you have trouble with the video, watch the orientation video on YouTube.

Resources

Grand Juror Handbook

Will acquaint persons who have been selected to serve on a North Carolina grand jury with the general nature and importance of their role.

Petit Juror Handbook

Information about jury service as a duty and why it is important in the administration of justice.

Juror Appreciation

North Carolina celebrates jurors all year and a special Juror Appreciation Month in July.