NRS 6.040 is the Nevada law which makes missing jury duty punishable by a $500 fine. The statute states:
Any person summoned … to serve as a juror, who fails to attend and serve as a juror, shall, unless excused by the court, be ordered by the court to appear and show cause for his or her failure to attend and serve as a juror. If the person fails to show cause, the person is in contempt and shall be fined not more than $500.
Courts can excuse people from serving if they can show a hardship such as illness. But these people need to get permission from the court ahead of time.
Nevada law also requires employers to allow their employees to miss work in order to serve jury duty. Under NRS 6.190, employers who fail to accommodate their employees face misdemeanor penalties of:
- up to 6 months in jail, and/or
- up to $1,000 in fines
And if the employer fires their employee for attending jury duty, the employer faces gross misdemeanor penalties of:
- up to 364 days in jail, and/or
- up to $2,000 in fines
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss various Nevada jury service topics including punishments for failing to show up under NRS 6.040. Scroll down, or click on a topic below to jump to that section.
- 1. Jury duty requirements in Nevada
- 2. Penalties for missing jury duty
- 3. Hardship excuses
- 4. Preparing for jury service
- 5. Payment
- 6. Ineligibility
- 7. Penalties for employers who do not accommodate employees
- 8. Penalties for hindering people from attending jury duty
- 9. Eighth Judicial District Court jury information
- 10. Grand juries
1. Jury duty requirements in Nevada
American citizens periodically receive a summons through the mail ordering them to appear at court to possibly serve on a jury (also called a “petit jury”). It is a person’s legal obligation to appear on the date specified in the summons.
Most of the time, people who appear for jury service never see a courtroom. Usually, they just wait in the courthouse’s jury room in case a legal matter fails to settle and proceeds to trial (which is rare).
The average jury trial lasts three days, but some can be much shorter or far longer. Jurors are required to appear every day of the trial no matter the length.
After people fulfill their obligation to appear for jury duty, they should not be summoned for jury duty again for a while. In Clark County, people who serve are not called again for at least 18 months.1
2. Penalties for missing jury duty
Under NRS 6.040, people who do not show up for jury service in Nevada may receive a second summons in the mail. This time, they will be ordered to appear in front of a judge at a “show cause” hearing to explain why they were absent.
If people at their “show cause” hearing fail to give a good excuse for missing jury duty, then the court will hold them in civil contempt and fine them $500.2 Once they pay the fine, the court will no longer hold them in contempt.
When people attend the show cause hearing, they should bring documents such as doctor’s notes, etc., to back up their excuse for missing jury service. When people fail to appear at a “show cause” hearing, the court will issue a bench warrant for the person’s arrest. Learn how to remove bench warrants.
Some people get lucky and are not penalized for ignoring their jury summons, but it is still against the law. It is always recommended that people try to attend jury service or inform the court in advance if they cannot make it.
2.1. Federal court penalties
As in Nevada state court, people who do not report to jury duty in Nevada federal court will be summoned to appear at a show cause hearing. If they fail to show up or give a good excuse for missing jury duty, the judge may order:
- up to $1,000 in fines, and/or
- up to three (3) days in jail, and/or
- community service3
3. Hardship excuses
People who wish to be excused from jury duty must contact Jury Services and request an excusal. 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 70 years of age or older;
- the person is 65 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 year4
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 should secure the court’s permission before the date they are summoned to appear. In some cases, they may have to produce affidavits and other paperwork supporting their excuse to miss jury duty.
4. Preparing for jury service
The court mails out a “summons to appear” with detailed instructions on what to do. The summons has an information hotline prospective jurors can call as well as details about what to bring, where to park, and what to wear. Note that prospective jurors are required to notify their employers at least three (3) days in advance prior to jury duty beginning.
The summons usually directs prospective jurors to immediately go to the court website and fill out an online survey to determine their eligibility for jury duty. The website also allows prospective jurors to provide a “hardship excuse” for why they may be unable to appear.
In state court, casual clothes are acceptable except for:
- tank tops,
- 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.
Prospective jurors are also required to call the information hotline the evening before their scheduled service date to confirm whether they are still needed to appear. Courts do not provide child care, so prospective jurors with children should make arrangements prior to their service date.
4.1. Venire and voir dire
The group of prospective jurors who are randomly selected to go into a courtroom is called the “venire.” The venire is usually three or four dozen people.
Once a venire is selected, the court begins the process of “voir dire,” which is where the judge and attorneys for both parties pose questions to the prospective jurors.
First, the judge will ask various questions of each member of the venire, including:
- their name and badge number (which appears on the summons)
- their employment (if any)
- whether they have a spouse or domestic employment, and where they are employed
- whether they have children who are employed
- how long they lived in Nevada
- whether they served on a jury before; if so, did the jury reach a verdict; and whether they were the foreperson in the jury
Then the judge and attorneys may ask other questions to help determine whether any members of the venire have biases that would prevent them from being impartial:
For instance, in domestic battery cases, the judge will ask if anyone was a victim of domestic violence. This is because a survivor may understandably have trouble presuming that the defendant is innocent until proven otherwise. The court would probably then excuse this person from jury service.
Sometimes voir dire questions can get very personal. Prospective jurors can always request that they speak to the judge and attorneys privately at the bench (judge’s desk) so that their fellow venire members cannot hear.
Eventually, the attorneys for both parties will whittle down the venire into the final group of jurors and a few alternates. In Justice Court, the size is usually six jurors. In District Court, the size is usually twelve jurors in criminal cases or eight jurors in civil cases.5
4.2. The trial and deliberation
The few people who do get “impaneled” on a jury are required to watch a trial, weigh the evidence, and then deliberate together to determine the outcome. During deliberation, the jury members choose a foreman to head the process.
If the trial is a criminal case, the jury determines whether or not the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The verdict has to be unanimous to be valid. If the jury is “hung”, the judge will declare a mistrial. Then the defendant may have another trial later on with different jurors.
If the trial is a civil case, the jury determines by the preponderance of the evidence if the defendant is liable for money damages. The verdict does not have to be unanimous. Instead, three/fourths of the jurors need to agree. Out of twelve jurors, that means nine out of twelve have to agree.6
Jurors who are actually sworn in for the purpose of serving on a trial jury receive per diem payment. In Clark County, it is $40 a day.
Meanwhile, prospective jurors who do not get sworn in 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.7
The following people are ineligible for serving on a jury:
- non-citizens of the U.S.
- people under eighteen (18)
- 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 speakers8
If any of these people receive a jury summons, they should contact the information hotline on the summons immediately.
7. Penalties for Nevada employers who do to accommodate employees
Under NRS 6.190, 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; or
- require the employee to work between 5 p.m. and 3 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 NRS 6.190 may face prosecution for a misdemeanor, carrying up to six (6) months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
Employers who terminate — or threaten to terminate — a staffer’s employment if the staffer misses work for jury service may be criminally liable for a gross misdemeanor under NRS 6.190. 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 (3) 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.9
Also 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.
8. Penalties for hindering people from attending jury duty
NRS 6.190 also makes it a misdemeanor to dissuade — or attempt to dissuade — a person who has received a jury summons from serving as a juror. The sentence includes up to six (6) months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.10
9. Eighth Judicial District Court jury information
People who receive a summons to serve as a juror by the Eighth Judicial District Court in Clark County are required to go online at ejuror.clarkcountycourts.us or call 702-455-4472 to complete the qualification survey.
The courthouse is in the Regional Justice Center, located at 200 Lewis Ave. in Las Vegas, Nevada 89101.
Any requests for excusal should be made at least five (5) business days prior to the appearance date. The court’s email address is [email protected] Instructions for prospective jurors are also available at http://www.clarkcountycourts.us/ejdc/juror-information/index.html.
People with disabilities may request accommodations by calling 702-455-4472.
Validated parking is available for jurors who park at the Fremont Street Experience Parking Garage at 425 Fremont Street. Disabled prospective jurors may get validated parking at 321 S. Casino Center Drive.
10. Grand juries
Grand juries are very different from trial juries. Three main distinctions are:
- Whereas trial juries determine the outcome of a case, grand juries determine whether enough evidence exists to prosecute (“indict”) a person to begin with;
- Whereas trial juries are usually open to the public, grand jury proceedings are held in secret;
- Whereas jury duty is required, people have to serve on grand juries only if they are “willing.”11
Learn more about grand juries.
- Juror Information, Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark County, Nevada; Ric Anderson, “Your number’s up for jury duty — now what?“, Las Vegas Sun (September 19, 2016).
- NRS 6.040 Penalty for failing to attend and serve as a juror. Any person summoned as provided in this chapter to serve as a juror, who fails to attend and serve as a juror, shall, unless excused by the court, be ordered by the court to appear and show cause for his or her failure to attend and serve as a juror. If the person fails to show cause, the person is in contempt and shall be fined not more than $500.See “Clark County courts issue jury duty scam warning,” KTNV Channel 13 ABC (November 21, 2018).
- 28 U.S. Code § 1864. Drawing of names from the master jury wheel; completion of juror qualification form
(b) Any person summoned pursuant to subsection (a) of this section who fails to appear as directed shall be ordered by the district court forthwith to appear and show cause for his failure to comply with the summons. Any person who fails to appear pursuant to such order or who fails to show good cause for noncompliance with the summons may be fined not more than $1,000, imprisoned not more than three days, ordered to perform community service, or any combination thereof. Any person who willfully misrepresents a material fact on a juror qualification form for the purpose of avoiding or securing service as a juror may be fined not more than $1,000, imprisoned not more than three days, ordered to perform community service, or any combination thereof.
- NRS 6.020 Exemptions from service.1. Except as otherwise provided in subsections 2 and 3 and NRS 67.050, upon satisfactory proof, made by affidavit or otherwise, the following-named persons, and no others, are exempt from service as grand or trial jurors:(a) While the Legislature is in session, any member of the Legislature or any employee of the Legislature or the Legislative Counsel Bureau;(b) Any person who has a fictitious address pursuant to NRS 217.462 to 217.471, inclusive; and(c) Any police officer as defined in NRS 617.135.2. All persons of the age of 70 years or over are exempt from serving as grand or trial jurors. Whenever it appears to the satisfaction of the court, by affidavit or otherwise, that a juror is over the age of 70 years, the court shall order the juror excused from all service as a grand or trial juror, if the juror so desires.3. A person who is the age of 65 years or over who lives 65 miles or more from the court is exempt from serving as a grand or trial juror. Whenever it appears to the satisfaction of the court, by affidavit or otherwise, that a juror is the age of 65 years or over and lives 65 miles or more from the court, the court shall order the juror excused from all service as a grand or trial juror, if the juror so desires.See David Ferrara, “‘We’ve heard every excuse’ for ducking jury service, Nevada judges say“, Las Vegas Review-Journal (September 27, 2016).
- NRS 175.021 Formation of jury; number of jurors.1. Trial juries for criminal actions are formed in the same manner as trial juries in civil actions.2. Except as provided in subsection 3, juries must consist of 12 jurors, but at any time before verdict, the parties may stipulate in writing with the approval of the court that the jury consist of any number less than 12 but not less than six.3. Juries must consist of six jurors for the trial of a criminal action in a Justice Court.
- Nevada Constitution, Section 3; NRS 175.481 Return. The verdict shall be unanimous. It shall be returned by the jury to the judge in open court.
- NRS 6.160 Payment of jurors. The clerk of the court in cases in the district court and the deputy clerk of the justice court in cases in the justice court shall keep a payroll, enrolling thereon the names of all jurors, the number of days in attendance and the actual number of miles traveled by the shortest and most practical route in going to and returning from the place where the court is held, and at the conclusion of a trial may:1. Give a statement of the amounts due to the jurors to the county auditor, who shall draw warrants upon the county treasurer for the payment thereof; or2. Make an immediate payment in cash of the amount owing to each juror.–> These payments must be made from and to the extent allowed by the fees collected from the demanding party, pursuant to the provisions of NRS 6.150, and from and to the extent allowed by any other fees which have been collected pursuant to law. The clerk shall obtain from each juror so paid a receipt signed by him or her and indicating the date of payment, the date of service and the amount paid. A duplicate of this receipt must be immediately delivered to the appropriate county auditor, county recorder or county comptroller.NRS 6.180 Expenses of jurors in civil cases. In all cases when a jury is kept together by order of the court during a trial, or by failure to agree upon a verdict, after the cause has been submitted to them by the court, the expenses of their board and lodging shall be taxed as other disbursements and expenses in favor of the prevailing party; no verdict shall be entered or judgment rendered thereon until the same is paid or tendered. The clerk shall receive and properly disburse all money paid for the expenses of jurors, as in this section provided to be paid.
- NRS 6.010 Persons qualified to act as jurors. Except as otherwise provided in this section, every qualified elector of the State, whether registered or not, who has sufficient knowledge of the English language, and who has not been convicted of treason, a felony, or other infamous crime, and who is not rendered incapable by reason of physical or mental infirmity, is a qualified juror of the county in which the person resides. A person who has been convicted of a felony is not a qualified juror of the county in which the person resides until the person’s civil right to serve as a juror has been restored pursuant to NRS 176A.850, 179.285, 213.090, 213.155 or 213.157.
- NRS 6.190 Terminating or threatening to terminate employment because of jury duty prohibited; civil action for unlawful termination; requiring employee to use sick leave or vacation time or to work certain hours prohibited; notice to employer; dissuasion from service as juror.1. Any person, corporation, partnership, association or other entity who is:(a) An employer; or(b) The employee, agent or officer of an employer, vested with the power to terminate or recommend termination of employment,–> of a person who is a juror or who has received a summons to appear for jury duty, and who deprives the juror or person summoned of his or her employment, as a consequence of the person’s service as a juror or prospective juror, or who asserts to the juror or person summoned that his or her service as a juror or prospective juror will result in termination of his or her employment, is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.2. A person discharged from employment in violation of subsection 1 may commence a civil action against his or her employer and obtain:(a) Wages and benefits lost as a result of the violation;(b) An order of reinstatement without loss of position, seniority or benefits;
(c) Damages equal to the amount of the lost wages and benefits;
(d) Reasonable attorney’s fees fixed by the court; and
(e) Punitive or exemplary damages in an amount not to exceed $50,000.
3. If a person is summoned to appear for jury duty, the employer and any employee, agent or officer of the employer shall not, as a consequence of the person’s service as a juror or prospective juror:
(a) Require the person to use sick leave or vacation time; or
(b) Require the person to work:
(1) Within 8 hours before the time at which the person is to appear for jury duty; or
(2) If the person’s service has lasted for 4 hours or more on the day of his or her appearance for jury duty, including the person’s time going to and returning from the place where the court is held, between 5 p.m. on the day of his or her appearance for jury duty and 3 a.m. the following day.
–> Any person who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor.
4. Each summons to appear for jury duty must be accompanied by a notice to the employer of the person summoned. The notice must inform the employer that the person has been summoned for jury duty and must include a copy of the provisions of subsections 1, 2 and 3. The person summoned, if the person is employed, shall give the notice to his or her employer at least 3 days before the person is to appear for jury duty.
5. Except as otherwise provided in this section, any person who in any manner dissuades or attempts to dissuade a person who has received a summons to appear for jury duty from serving as a juror is guilty of a misdemeanor.
- NRS 6.110 – .145.