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 that issued the summons  
  • 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 been convicted of a felony (unless citizenship rights have been restored) 

Excusal and / 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 in your county as soon as possible to obtain your juror number and any reporting information. 

Procedures to request a deferral or excusal vary from county to county. Read your summons for specific instructions. Generally, you must contact the Clerk of Superior Court if you wish to defer your service to a date that is more convenient or to be excused. You must have a compelling reason why you cannot serve on the assigned date. You may ask to be excused if you have a documented medical reason that prevents your service or you have served as a juror within the past two years, or are otherwise ineligible to serve. 

If you are 72 years of age or older, you may request to be excused in writing.

Reporting

Your jury summons provides the room number at the courthouse where you should report. Report to that room by the reporting time listed on your summons. Check in with the jury staff when you arrive. 

Bring reading materials or mobile devices (where permitted) 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 they serve 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 will 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

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 Month

Chief Justice Mark Martin has proclaimed the month of July as Juror Appreciation Month in the state of North Carolina.