The only contact most citizens will ever have with the court system is through jury service. The right to a trial by jury is one of our most important rights and is guaranteed by the United States and North Carolina Constitutions. By serving as a juror, citizens are helping to preserve this freedom.
If you are required to serve on a jury, you may be asked to make decisions that affect others' civil or property rights, or you may be asked to determine someone's right to freedom or even to life itself. Jurors' contributions are invaluable to the court and our democratic tradition.
At least every two years, a Master Jury List is prepared in each county, using the lists of registered voters and licensed drivers. For each week of court, citizens’ names are randomly selected from the Master Jury List, and jury summons are issued for those whose names are drawn.
To be eligible to serve as a juror in North Carolina, a person must be a citizen of the state and a resident of the county, have not served as a trial juror in the past two years or served a full term as a grand juror in the past six years. Jurors must be 18 years of age, or older, and there is no maximum age limit. They must be mentally and physically competent, be able to understand English, and not have been convicted of a felony, unless their citizenship rights have been restored.
A juror is normally called to serve for a week of court; however, some counties use a system where jurors are summoned for one day or one trial, whichever is longer. Even when jurors are seated for a trial, most trials only last for two to three days.
Although employers are not required to pay employees while on jury duty, state law prevents an employer from firing or demoting any employee because of the employee’s service as a juror.