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What should I know about jury duty in Georgia?

Authored By: Georgia
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Getting called for jury duty in Georgia

What should I know? +

Contents


What should I expect if I get a jury summons?

If you get a jury summons in the mail:

  • Check the summons for the date you must go to the courthouse for jury selection,

  • Make sure you know which court you are being summoned to,

  • If you believe you cannot serve on the date you are scheduled, contact the court immediately. There is likely a form you must fill out before you are officially excused from jury service. 

  • If you will need to miss work for jury duty, show your employer your summons right away. 

 

When you go for jury service, you will be part of a pool of potential jurors. You may or may not be chosen to sit on an actual jury. To pick a jury for a trial, attorneys ask questions of potential jurors in hopes of selecting an impartial juror. This is called voir dire. 

 

If you are chosen for a jury after voir dire, you will be given a trial date. You will then have to return to the court to serve on the jury for the trial.

 

If you are not chosen after the voir dire process, you are done. You do not have to return and your jury obligations are over. 

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What happens if I do not report for jury duty in Georgia?

You must respond to a jury summons. This is an official court document. If you do not respond, you could be held in contempt of court. You could be fined or jailed. 

 

Even if you have a valid reason to be excused from jury duty, you still must contact the court to get formally excused. 

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What are the different types of jury duty I might be called for in Georgia?

You may be called for jury duty in state court or federal court. 

  • You can be called for any state trial court in the county where you live. 

  • You might be called for jury duty in the federal district court that covers the area where you live. 

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Who is eligible for jury duty in Georgia?

In Georgia, any citizen of the state can serve on a jury if they:

  • Are a U.S. citizen,

  • Are 18 or older,

  • Are able to understand English,

  • Are mentally and physically competent,

  • Are not a convicted felon who has not had voting rights restored. 

 

Potential jurors are chosen at random from lists of people who:

  • Have a driver’s license, valid or expired,

  • Have a state ID, valid or expired, or 

  • Are registered to vote.

 

You cannot be required to serve on jury duty more than 4 weeks in any one year. 

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What are my rights and responsibilities as a juror?

You have rights with jury duty:

  • You have the right to be paid for your service. The pay is between $5 and $50/day. You might also be reimbursed for parking and mileage. 

  • You have the right to keep your job while on jury duty. Under the law, your employer cannot fire or demote you because you are missing work for jury duty. However, your employer does not necessarily have to pay you your full salary. 

 

You have responsibilities with jury duty:

  • You must respond to a jury summons. This is an official court document. If you do not respond, you could be held in contempt of court. You could be fined or jailed. 

  • During the jury selection process, you have a duty to give truthful answers. You will be under oath.

  • If you are chosen to serve on a jury, you have a duty to be impartial.

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What can I do? +

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What are the reasons I might get out of jury duty?

Although it is rare, courts do sometimes excuse people from jury duty. You might be excused altogether, or your date may be deferred (rescheduled). These accepted excuses will depend on the court that called you for jury duty. You must ask to be excused. This generally involves filling out an affidavit or calling the court. Contact the court that sent your summons to find out: 

  • If you have a valid excuse, and 

  • How to make your request.

 

In Georgia state courts, you might have jury duty deferred (rescheduled) if:

  • You are engaged in work necessary to the public health, safety, or good order, or

  • You show other good cause.

 

In Georgia state courts, you may ask to be excused from jury duty if:

  • You are a full-time student currently taking classes,

  • You are the primary caregiver to a child age six or younger. You must have no reasonably available alternative child care.

  • You are the primary teacher in a home study program. There must be no alternative child care.

  • You are the primary unpaid caregiver for a person over the age of six. You must state that the person is unable to care for themself and there is no alternative care available. 

    • To get this exemption, you must provide the court with a doctor’s note. 

  • You are 70 years old or older.

  • You are a service member or the spouse of a service member on ordered military duty.

 

Some jobs are exempt from serving on a federal jury:

  • Activity duty military,

  • Full time members of fire and police departments, and

  • “Public” officers of federal, state or local governments.

 

In federal district court, you may ask to be excused from jury duty if:

  • You are 70 or older,

  • You serve as a volunteer firefighter or EMT,

  • You provide full-time care to a child under 1o,

  • You have served on a federal jury within two years, or

  • You have a grave medical condition or physical disability. You must provide a doctor’s note.

 

In federal court, you might also be able to reschedule your jury duty if you have commitment that conflicts with your summons date. A commitment might be a:

  • Work trip,

  • Previously scheduled vacation, or

  • Scheduled medical procedure. 

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What can I do if my employer fires or punishes me for missing work for jury duty?

It is illegal for your employer to threaten, fire, discipline, or penalize you for missing work to serve on jury duty. 

 

However, your employer must know the reason you are missing work is jury duty. 

  • Show your employer your jury summons letter when you get it. 

  • Let your employer know immediately if you get picked to sit on a jury.

 

If your employer punishes you for missing work, contact the juror’s office of the court and/or an attorney. Your employer could be liable for damages and attorney’s fees.

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Last Review and Update: Dec 03, 2020