What Happens If You Miss Jury Duty in Las Vegas, NV?

Nobody wants to find a jury summons in their mail. The dreaded notice is an inconvenient interruption in your daily life, one that could get a lot more intensive if you’re selected to serve. With that in mind, it’s understandable that you might be thinking about ignoring a summons and skipping the process altogether. Maybe you already forgot to appear as requested. Either way, you should know that both federal and Nevada state courts treat this decision very seriously and that you may face considerable penalties. Here’s what you need to know about jury duty in Nevada, what happens if you miss it, and what you can do if you have.

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Differences Between Serving on Grand Juries &Trial Juries

The U.S. judicial system utilizes two distinct types of juries: grand juries and trial (petit) juries. Each serves a unique function, and the selection process, length of service, and handling of ineligibility or excuses differ significantly between the two.

Grand Juries

Grand juries are more prominent, and their primary role is to determine whether there is enough evidence to indict someone and proceed to trial. Grand jury proceedings are not public, and jurors may serve for several months, often meeting a few days each month.

Trial Juries

Trial juries are more minor, generally comprising 6 to 12 jurors. These jurors are responsible for determining an individual’s guilt or innocence in civil and criminal cases based on the evidence presented during the trial. The service period for a trial jury is typically much shorter, lasting only for a single trial, which might be a few days to several weeks.

What happens if you miss jury duty?

Failure to Appear Under State Law

In Nevada, failing to appear for jury service, whether for a grand jury or a trial jury, can result in significant penalties under state law.

According to NRS 6.040, courts may issue a second jury summons to individuals who miss their initial jury duty. This summons requires them to appear before a judge and justify their absence. If they cannot explain satisfactorily, the court will hold them in contempt and fine them $500.

After paying the fine, they will no longer be in contempt. However, the court may issue a bench warrant for their arrest if they do not attend the cause hearing after the second summons.

This underscores the importance of attending jury service or adequately communicating with the court about any legitimate impediments to serving.

Failure to Appear Under Federal Law

At the federal level, missing grand jury or trial jury service can lead to stiffer penalties.

Title 28 of the United States Code, Section 1866(g) allows federal courts to punish individuals who fail to appear for jury service without justifiable cause through any combination of:

  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • Court-ordered community service
  • Prison for up to 3 days

Excuses From Serving on a Jury

Both state and federal courts in Nevada recognize specific circumstances under which courts may excuse an individual from jury service.

In Nevada state courts, per NRS 6.030, excuses from jury duty include:

  • Significant financial hardship
  • Physical or mental illness
  • Being a primary caregiver
  • Being over 70 years old
  • Being over 65 years of age and living 65 miles or more from the court

At the federal level, Title 28 of the United States Code, Section 1863(b)(5)(A), allows exemptions for:

  • Undue hardship or extreme inconvenience
  • Public necessity
  • Active service in the Armed Forces
  • Volunteer firefighters
  • Public ambulance service

Both jurisdictions aim to balance the civic obligation of jury service with the need to accommodate personal hardships that could significantly impact an individual’s ability to serve.

Ineligibility for Jury Duty in Nevada

In Nevada, certain conditions may render a person ineligible for jury duty, meaning they cannot serve on a jury despite receiving a summons. These include:

  • Age: Under Nevada law, individuals who are under 18 years of age are ineligible for jury duty.
  • Non-Citizenship: As is the case nationwide, only U.S. citizens can serve on a jury in Nevada.
  • Residency: To serve on a jury, one must be a county resident who issued the jury summons.
  • Insufficient English Proficiency: Individuals who cannot speak or understand English adequately enough to participate in proceedings may be ineligible.
  • Criminal Convictions: Those with felony convictions and whose civil rights have not been restored are ineligible to serve on a jury in Nevada.

These criteria aim to ensure that jurors can fully understand and participate in the legal proceedings, upholding the integrity of the judicial process.

FAQs About Missing Jury Duty in Las Vegas

Facing jury duty summons can raise numerous questions, especially about the potential consequences of missing your scheduled date or navigating conflicts with work or personal circumstances.

Can my boss fire me for performing jury duty?

No, your employer cannot fire you for attending jury duty. Federal and state laws protect jurors from being dismissed, penalized, or threatened with employment termination for fulfilling this civic obligation.

How do I go about getting excused from jury duty or obtaining a postponement?

To get excused or postpone your jury duty in Las Vegas, you must submit a formal request to the court, usually by filling out a part of the summons and providing supporting documentation. Acceptable documents might include a doctor’s note for medical excuses, travel receipts for pre-paid vacations, or a letter from your employer detailing a significant business hardship.

What happens if I just don’t show up for jury duty?

Ignoring a jury summons can lead to penalties, fines, or even a court order to appear and explain your absence. It’s essential to formally address conflicts with the court rather than simply not showing up.

Is there an age limit for serving jury duty in Las Vegas?

There is no upper age limit in Nevada for serving on a jury. However, individuals over 70 may request to be excused from service based on their age if they feel they cannot serve effectively.

Who To Contact When You Miss Jury Duty in Las Vegas

If you’ve missed your scheduled jury duty, DeCastroverde Law Group is here to help. Our experienced Nevada criminal defense attorneys are ready to provide a comprehensive case evaluation and guide you through your legal options. Contact us online or by phone so we can protect your rights and work to resolve any issues you’re facing.