194. Jury Service in California

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To serve on a California jury, you must be a U.S. citizen. You must be selected to serve; juror names are selected from state identification cards, driver's licenses, and voting rolls. If selected, you will receive in your mail an envelope marked Jury Summons. Call the 800 phone number to find out the first day of your service. If that date is inconvenient for you, you can change it to a later date. You cannot serve more than once every 12 months.

If you are mentally disabled or are a full-time caregiver, you may be excused from service. If you have no reasonable means of transportation to court, you might be excused. If you are a full-time student or teacher, you won't be excused. If you are a breast-feeding mom, you can postpone your service. If you are dead, your family must provide proof of death.

To serve on a jury, you must be able to read and understand basic English. Your age doesn't matter, as long as you are at least 18 years old. Once you're 70, you can say that you're too sick to serve; you don't need a doctor's excuse. If you're younger than 70, you need a doctor's note confirming that you are ill. Blind people, deaf people, and people in wheelchairs can be required to serve on a jury.

You will not get paid very much for your service--$15 a day. Also, the state will reimburse you 34 cents for each mile that you drive in your car (one way only). Some employers will pay your salary while you serve; some won't. If you own a business, you might be away from it for one to four weeks, occasionally even longer. You could lose a lot of money if you do most of the work for your business. But the judge won't excuse you unless you can demonstrate extreme financial hardship. Parking for jurors is always free.


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