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Terms and Definitions

What is jury duty?

Updated: May 17, 2024

Jury duty definition and meaning

Jury duty is a legal obligation for US citizens when summoned as a juror in a court of law. Some states enforce penalties or criminally prosecute individuals that ignore a summons to serve on a jury.

More about jury duty

According to the Federal Jury System Improvement Act, employers may not penalize employees for serving jury duty. Employers are still obligated to pay the wages of exempt salaried employees while on jury duty, but a non-exempt, hourly paid employee is not owed this by federal law. There are some states, however, that do require employers to pay their non-exempt, hourly employees for jury service.


Jury selection qualifications:

  • Must be 18 and a US citizen
  • To qualify English comprehension is a requirement
  • Minimum one-year residency in the judicial district in question
  • Not subject to, nor have ever been convicted of a felony (barring restoration of civil rights)


The are some reasons you might be exempt or excused from jury duty selection

  • On active duty in the fire or police department, armed forces, or first responders
  • you are a federal, state or local government official, or public officer
  • Have already served within the last two years
  • Causes undue hardship or extreme inconvenience




Using jury duty in a sentence

“I’ve been called in for jury duty a few times in the last two years, but I’ve never been selected to serve.”

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