Under NRS 6.040, it is unlawful in Nevada to ignore a jury summons. It is also illegal for employers to fire staff who miss work for jury duty. Penalties include fines and possibly jail. This article explains jury duty laws in both Nevada state court and Nevada federal court.
Keep reading to learn about how jurors are summoned, ways to decline jury duty, and penalties for failing to appear for jury duty.
What is jury duty in Nevada?
American citizens who are registered to vote may be summoned to serve on a jury in a local criminal or civil case. It is the jury's job to watch a trial, weigh the evidence, and then deliberate together to determine the outcome. Note that the following people are disqualified from serving jury duty:
- non-citizens of the U.S.
- people under eighteen
- people rendered incapable of physical or mental infirmities (as certified by a physician)
- people convicted of treason
- convicted felons who have not had their civil rights restored
- non-English speakers
If the trial is a criminal case, the jury determines whether or not the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the trial is a civil case, the jury determines by the preponderance of the evidence if the defendant is liable for money damages.
Does everyone who is called for jury duty get to serve in a trial in Nevada?
No. Most of the time, people who appear for jury duty never see a courtroom. Often they just wait in the courthouse in the rare event that a case goes to trial. The vast majority of criminal and civil cases settle without a trial. Learn more about jury trials in Nevada.
How are people selected to be summoned for jury duty in Nevada?
The court randomly selects people from a database of local registered voters.
How often are people called for jury duty in Nevada?
It varies. Some people never receive summons, and others are summoned every few years. People can be called to serve every year, but that rarely happens.
How long does jury service last in Nevada?
Usually two to four days. But if the prospective juror is selected to serve in a trial, it may last the length of the trial. This could be days, weeks or sometimes even months.
How are people notified of jury duty in Nevada?
The court mails out a "summons to appear." Prospective jurors are instructed to call the juror information line for details on where and where to show up for jury duty and how to excuse themselves from serving. Prospective jurors usually need to call this information line the day before their scheduled jury duty date to confirm their intention to attend.
How can people get out of jury service in Nevada?
People who wish to be excused from jury duty must call the jury information line to ask for permission. Courts should always allow exemptions in the following circumstances:
- the prospective juror is a member of the Nevada Legislature or is an employee of the Legislature or Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau while the Legislature is in session,
- the person is a police officer,
- the person is seventy years of age or older,
- the person is sixty-five years of age or older and lives sixty-five miles or more from the court,
- the person has a fictitious address for their protection from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking (pursuant to NRS 217.462 to 217.471), or
- the person already served as a juror on a trial that year or the previous year
Generally, courts will allow people to postpone jury service for extenuating reasons such as illness, death or illness of a family member, disability, undue hardship, care-giving, or public necessity.
Note that people who wish to be excused from jury service must secure the court's permission before the date he/she is summoned to appear in order to avoid penalties. In some cases, they may have to produce affidavits and other paperwork supporting their excuse to miss jury duty.
Are there penalties for not showing up for jury duty in Nevada?
Yes. People who do not show up for jury duty may be ordered to appear before the court at a "show cause" hearing and explain why they were absent. It helps to bring documents such as doctor's notes, etc., to back up their story.
If the person does not show up to the "show cause" hearing or does not give a good excuse, then the court may hold him/her in civil contempt. Contempt penalties depend on the court:
- In Nevada state court, a person held in contempt for failing to appear for jury duty is fined $500.
- In Nevada federal court, a person held in contempt for failing to appear for jury duty may be fined $1,000 and/or jailed for up to three days.
Once the person pays the fine or serves the time, the court will no longer hold him/her in contempt. Note that if the person fails to show up at the "show cause" hearing, the court will issue a bench warrant for the person's arrest. Learn how to quash bench warrants in Nevada.
Do Nevada courts really go after people who ditch jury duty?
Some people get lucky and are not penalized for missing jury duty, but it is still against the law. It is always recommended that people try to attend jury duty, and if they cannot make it, to inform the court in advance.
What accommodations must employers make for staffers who have jury duty in Nevada? And what penalties do they face if they do not?
Employers are legally required to allow employees to take off work in order to fulfill jury duty. Specifically, employers may not do any of the following:
- require the employee to use sick leave or vacation time for jury duty
- require the employee to work within eight hours before the time at which the employee is required to appear for jury duty
- require the employee to work between five p.m. and three a.m. following the employee's jury service if the service lasted for four hours or more (including travel time) earlier that day.
Employers who violate these terms may face prosecution for a misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
Furthermore, employers who terminate ... or threaten to terminate ... a staffer's employment if the staffer misses work for jury duty may be criminally liable for a gross misdemeanor in Nevada. Penalties include up to 364 days in jail and/or up to $2,000 in fines. In addition, the fired employee may sue the employer for 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 the lost wages and benefits,
- reasonable attorney's fees fixed by the court, and
- punitive or exemplary damages up to $50,000
Note that employees are required to notify their employers at least three days in advance prior to jury duty beginning. Otherwise, the employers might not be criminally or civilly liable for failing to accommodate the employees' jury duty obligations.
Note that employers are not required to pay employees for the time they miss due to jury duty. However many employers do pay anyway, especially if they are salaried.
Do non-employers face penalties for hindering a person from serving jury duty in Nevada?
Yes. Any person who in any manner dissuades or attempts to dissuade a person who has received a jury summons from serving as a juror may be liable for a misdemeanor in Nevada. The sentence includes up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
Do jurors get paid in Nevada?
Jurors who are actually sworn in for the purpose of serving on a trial jury receive $40 a day. Meanwhile, unselected jurors do not get paid, even if they spend all day at court waiting. Under certain circumstances, jurors may be reimbursed for travel and lodging expenses.
What is the proper attire for jury duty in Nevada?
In state court, casual clothes is acceptable except for shorts, tank tops, flip-flops, mini-skirts, sunglasses, hats, or any garments that are too revealing or contain offensive language or images. Federal court allows casual attire as well but no t-shirts. The safest bet is to dress in business casual attire.
Do courts provide childcare in Nevada?
Charged with a jury duty offense? Call us for help...
If you have been charged with violating Nevada jury duty laws, call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). We may be able to get the charges dropped so your record stays clean.
We represent client throughout Nevada, including Las Vegas, Henderson, Washoe County, Reno, Carson City, Laughlin, Mesquite, Bunkerville, Moapa, Elko, Pahrump, Searchlight and Tonopah.