FAILURE TO APPEAR FOR JURY DUTY
Found at Nevada Revised Statutes (N.R.S.) Chapter 6 & United States Code (U.S.C.) § 1866(g)
HOW DOES JURY DUTY WORK IN NEVADA?
Jury duty is a very simple idea that is somewhat complex in practice.
The State will select a group of people and send them a summons. You will be required to respond to your summons within 5 days of receiving the summons using either eJuror, email, fax or mail. All of the information for these will be included in the summons. The summons will contain an information number.
If you have received a summons, you must call that number on the day indicated (usually the day before you are supposed to appear for Jury Duty). When you call in, you will either be dismissed from Jury Duty (Congratulations, you have fulfilled your civic duty!), or you will be required to attend Jury Duty.
Be sure to bring your summons with you when you attend Jury Duty. You should be prepared to remain at the courthouse until 5:00 p.m. on the day of your Jury Duty. Nevada uses a “One Day, One Trial” system, which means that if you are not selected to sit on a jury that day, then you have fulfilled your Jury Duty. If, However, you are chosen, you will be required to sit for either a criminal or civil trial before your Jury Duty is over.
HOW ARE PROSPECTIVE JURORS CHOSEN?
The State of Nevada begins by randomly selecting people from a database of all registered voters within the Court’s jurisdiction (those registered to vote in the particular city or county). (per N.R.S. 6.010).
There are few requirements necessary to serve on a criminal or civil jury. They are:
- U.S. Citizenship;
- At least 18 years old;
- Sufficient knowledge of the English Language;
Who is disqualified from Jury Duty?
- Non-U.S. Citizens;
- People under the age of 18;
- People convicted of Treason
- Convicted Felons who have not had their civil rights restored;
- People without a sufficient knowledge of the English Language;
- People rendered incapable because of physical or mental infirmities;
Why are these distinctions made, and why are they necessary?
- Jurors must be able to sit through a trial, understand, evaluate, and weigh testimony and evidence.
- Jurors must be able to discuss that information with the other jurors during deliberation. This is why knoweldge of the English language is necessary for jury duty.
- Because of the nature of jury deliberation, where honesty and forthrightness are necessary, those convicted of treason or of felonies are barred from serving on a jury (although, many felons can have their civil rights reinstated and subsequently serve on a jury. If you have been convicted of a felony and would like to know more about your ability to have your civil rights reinstated, please contact an attorney).
- Since the United States has set the age of majority at 18 years old, prospective jurors must be at least 18 years old in order to serve.
- All citizens have a responsibility to serve Jury Duty. As both a partner and a stakeholder in the United States, service as a juror should be attended with pride.
HOW WILL I BE NOTIFIED THAT I NEED TO SERVE JURY DUTY?
If you are randomly selected to serve jury duty, then you will receive a “notice to appear” in the mail. This notice will detail the date of your service and will include detailed instructions on when to call the juror information line for details on when and where to show up for jury duty. Generally, you will need respond to the notice within 5 days using eJuror, email, fax, or mail. After responding to the notice, you will need to call the day before your scheduled service to confirm that you will be in attendance. The notice will also provide instructions on how to excuse yourself from jury duty if you are unable to serve on the given date.
HOW OFTEN CAN I BE CALLED FOR JURY DUTY?
Generally, you will only be called about once every few years. However, you CAN be called up to once every year. (as per N.R.S. 6.045(3) and N.R.S. 6.070).
IS THERE ANY WAY TO GET OUT OF JURY DUTY?
If you believe that you have cause to not serve your jury duty on the given date, you will need to follow the directions detailed in the “notice to appear”. It is important that you call the jury information line BEFORE your confirmation date (the day before your service) to request permission to not attend. The Court will always grant exemptions in the following circumstances (per N.R.S. 6.020):
- The prospective juror is a member of the Nevada Legislature, or is employed by the Nevada Legislature or the Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau, while the Legislature is in session;
- The prospective juror has a fictitious address for their protection from domestic violence, human trafficking, sexual assault, or stalking (pursuant to N.R.S. 217.462 to 217.471 inclusive);
- The prospective juror is a police officer;
- The prospective juror is over 70 years of age;
- The prospective juror is over 65 years of age and lives at least 65 miles from the court;
- The prospective juror has a permanent physical or mental disability.
Generally, the Court is allowed to postpone jury duty for a prospective juror in the following circumstances (per N.R.S. 6.030):
- Sickness or physical disability;
- Serious illness or death of a member of the prospective juror’s immediate family;
- Undue hardship or extreme inconvenience;
- Public necessity;
- If the prospective juror is the primary caregiver of another person who has a documented condition that requires the assistance of another person at all times;
- The prospective juror has a temporary mental or physical condition that inhibits their ability to serve on a jury.
It is important to remember that regardless of your reason for requesting an exemption or postponement, your request must be made before the day you are supposed to call for confirmation. Also, the Court may request that you provide adequate affidavits or other paperwork as proof of your condition.
While some people are fortunate enough to skip their jury duty and never be prosecuted for doing so, it is important to remember that failure to appear for jury duty is against the law. If you cannot attend on the scheduled day, it is recommended that you contact the Court to get your jury duty excused or postponed.
IF I CAN’T GET MY JURY DUTY EXCUSED OR POSTPONED, WHAT NEXT?
You will need to call the juror information number found in your “notice to appear” on the day before your scheduled jury duty. The exact times that you need to call in will also be in the “notice to appear”. Many prospective jurors will “satisfy” their jury duty simply by making this phone call. If you call the juror information line and are required to attend your jury duty the next day, then you must show up to the Court the following day at the indicated time.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR FOR JURY DUTY?
Business casual attire is best: no shorts, tank-tops, flip-flops, mini-skirts, sweatsuits, jogging suits, sunglasses, hats, or clothing that is too revealing or contains offensive images or language. Federal Courts also bans t-shirts.
HOW LONG WILL MY JURY DUTY LAST?
Nevada follows the “One Day, One Trial” rule. If you are not chosen to sit on a jury, then your Jury Duty will be over after the one day. If, however, you are chosen to sit on a jury, then it will last however long the trial lasts; in some cases this can be weeks or even months.
BUT WHAT ABOUT MY JOB?
Your employer is required by law to allow you to serve your jury duty with no repurcussions (per N.R.S. 6.190). This means that your employer must allow you to take time off work in order to fulfill your jury duty and may not:
- Require that you use sick leave, vacation time, or paid time off;
- Require that you work within 8 hours prior to the time at which you are scheduled to appear for jury duty (your scheduled date, not the date you call in to confirm);
- Require that you work between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m., after serving jury duty, if your jury duty lasted at least four hours earlier that day.
If your employer violates any of these terms they can be prosecuted for a misdemeanor in Nevada, and could face up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
If your employer threatens to terminate your employment if you serve your jury duty, regardless of whether you are actually terminated, they may be prosecuted for a gross misdemeanor, carrying a penalty of up to 364 days in jail and/or up to $2,000 in fines.
If your employer does fire you for serving your jury duty, then you may sue thme for any or all of the following:
- Wages and benefits lost as a result of the violation;
- An order of reinstatement without loss of position, seniority or benefits;
- Damages equal to the amount of lost wages and benefits;
- Reasonable attorney’s fees fixed by the court (the fee’s associated with bring the lawsuit against your employer); and
- Punitive or exemplary damages up to $50,000.
Please note that you must notify your employer at least 3 days in advance of your scheduled jury duty appearance in order for civil or criminal liability to apply.
Also, employers are not required to pay employees for the time they miss due to jury duty. Many employers do pay for time missed for jury duty, particularly to salaried employees. Please be sure to notify your employer of your impending jury duty as soon as possible and find out if your employer is willing to pay for time missed for jury duty.
Also note that if you are chosen to be on a jury, and are actually sworn in for that purpose, you receive $40 a day. If you are not sworn in for the purpose of serving on a trial jury, then you will not be paid. If you live far away from the courthouse, you may also receive a daily stipend for necessities (food and possibly hotel) as well as reimbursement for driving. If you think that you may qualify for either of these, you should call the information number listed on your notice and ask about the process for requesting them.
BUT WHAT ABOUT MY CHILD(REN)?
Nevada does not provide child care while you are serving jury duty.
I MISSED MY JURY DUTY DATE, NOW WHAT?
If you have missed your jury duty date, the Court has the discretion to order your appearance at a hearing to “show cause” why you missed your jury duty date (per N.R.S. 6.040). If you are ordered to appear at one of these hearings, you must show up and explain why you were absent from your jury duty. If you have any affidavits or documentary proof to back up your absence, you should bring them to this hearing.
If you do not appear at the “show cause” hearing, or if the Court finds the reason for your absence inadequate, you may be held in contempt of court and can be liable for the following penalties:
- In Nevada State Court, you may be fined up to $500.
- In Nevada Federal Court, you may be fined up to $1,000 and/or you may be jailed for up to 3 days.
- If you failed to appear at the “show cause” hearing, then the Court will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. If this has happened to you, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
Once you have paid your fine and/or served your jail time, the court will no longer hold you in contempt.
If you have been charged with a jury duty violation, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.