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Who is eligible for jury duty?

The State of Florida can send a summons for jury service to any person who is eligible to serve.

You are eligible to serve if you:
1) Are a citizen of the United States
2) Are a legal resident of Florida
3) Are a legal resident of Broward County
4) Are at least 18 years old, AND
5) Have a valid Florida Drivers License OR a valid Florida Identification Card.

If you have received a summons, it means you have been randomly selected to report for jury duty because you meet all five (5) requirements. Basically, you were picked because you are eligible and able to serve. You are now part of a jury “pool” which is group of eligible and able citizens from which trial juries are chosen.

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How do people get picked for jury duty?

State laws require jurors to be selected randomly from a fair cross-section of the county in which they serve. In Broward County, you are randomly selected from a Florida Driver License Database of US citizens who are residents of Broward County and are 18 years of age or older. If you’ve been picked, your name was selected based on the information listed on your driver’s license, identification card, or voter registration. This random selection ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity and obligation to serve on jury duty.

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How will I know if I've been called for jury duty?

You will receive a Summons from the Court, through the regular mail, to appear for jury duty. It is your duty as a citizen of Broward County to serve when you have been summoned for jury service.

You are not required to serve on jury duty more than once a year, so you will not receive a summons more than once in a calendar year. Sometimes you can go years without being summoned. Remember that being called for jury duty does not necessarily mean that you will actually sit on a jury.

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What is a summons?

A summons is a document directing the sheriff or other officer to notify a person that he or she is required to appear in court on a certain day. The summons tells you, among other things, what date you are to report, the time which you are to appear, and the Court’s policy regarding requests for postponement or excuse.

The form that you get in the mail contains your Summons, Juror Instructions, Check-In Stub/Payment Affidavit, Juror Parking Permit and Map.

This form is the only notice you’ll receive. You will need the information on it and will have to bring a portion of it with you when you report for jury duty. Make sure you keep your form in a safe place!

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How do I read my summons?

First of all, you should read your “Summons.” Open the form very carefully, making sure not to rip any part of it, since it is made up of multiple sections with perforated edges for you to separate and either turn in or keep with you. When you open it, you’ll see that the form is divided into thirds which are further divided. Read the bottom section of the inside first since this part is the actual Summons. It tells you that you’ve been selected, that it is your duty to report, the date you are to appear, where you are to appear, what time, and what happens if you don’t show up. (This is discussed in detail on this website in the sections that follow). In Broward County, you will be summoned by the 17th Judicial Circuit and County Court to appear in the Jury Assembly Room (Room 380) at the Broward County Courthouse located at 201 SE 6th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL at 7:45 A.M. This section also gives you the number to call if you are disabled or need accommodations.

Next, you should read the middle section of the form called “Juror Information.” This section gives you information about parking, length of jury service, compensation, excusals/postponements, location of the courthouse, and contact information (all of which are discussed in the sections that follow). Next to this section, there is a map showing you the location of the courthouse in relation to the parking garage.

Above this section, at the top of the form, is a section called “Juror Excusal/Postponement Form.” Read this part next. This form tells you the reasons that you can be either disqualified or exempt from jury duty. There is also a part on this form where you can request to be excused or postponed and provide the court with an explanation of why. If you are requesting to be excused or are requesting postponement of your jury service, you need to fill this in and send it back to the court. (see section How Do I Get Out of Jury Duty?)

Next to this form, you will see another section at the top called “Employer’s Copy.” This is the section you tear off and give to your employer. It tells your employer that you have been selected to serve as a juror on a specified date and also lists the law regarding your employer’s responsibilities on the opposite side. If you are employed at the time you receive your Summons in the mail, you have to give this “Employer’s Copy” section to your employer at least five (5) days prior to the date you are required to serve.

If you flip your summons form over, on the other side, you’ll see a section in the middle called “Juror Check-In/Payment Affidavit.” This section is printed on the back of the “Juror Information” section. You need to fill this part in before you arrive for jury duty. It asks you to check off your employment status and whether you’d like to be compensated for your jury service. You have to date and sign this section which you’ll turn in when you check in with jury administration. It is a misdemeanor of the second degree to knowingly make a false statement on this affidavit.

The other section on this side is the “Juror Parking Permit” which is printed on the opposite side of the map. You will need to remove this section and place it on your dashboard when you park in the garage for jury duty.

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Who can be excused from jury duty?

Even though you are eligible to be selected for jury duty, you may be disqualified or exempted from jury service. Section 40.013 of the Florida Statutes has a list of reasons that disqualify you from jury duty and also has a list of the acceptable reasons for you to be excused. This section of the Statute is printed for you on the Juror Excusal/Postponement Form that you receive with your Summons. The only mandatory excusals are on this Excusal Form. Otherwise, you must serve on jury duty. The form says that you may be disqualified or exempt from Jury Duty for the following reasons:

You will be disqualified:
If you are a convicted felon;
If you are presently under prosecution for a crime;
If you are not a resident of Broward County;
If you are not a citizen of the United States.

You may be exempt from jury service:
If you are over 70 years old and wish to be temporarily excused;
If you are over 70 years old and wish to be permanently excused;
If you are a parent who is not employed full time with custody of a child under 6 years old;
If you are an expectant mother;
If you are a full-time law enforcement officer;

You may also be exempt from jury service for the following reasons, but to be exempt you must provide extra documentation:
If you are physically unable to serve and submit a doctor’s note stating why;
If you served on Jury Duty in the past 12 months and submit Proof of Attendance Form

You CANNOT be excused for business reasons or for lack of transportation. These hardships are NOT grounds for excusal!!

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How can I get excused or get a postponement from jury duty?

The only way you can be excused is by following the instructions on the Jury Excusal/Postponement Form. You must fill out this form and either (1) check off one of the reasons for disqualification or exemption if they apply or (2) request to be excused or postponed by providing an explanation of why in the blank lines provided for you at the bottom of this form. If you are providing an explanation in these lines, Do NOT write reasons such as business or lack of transportation. These are NOT grounds for excusal. Postponement may be granted to those with extenuating circumstances, so make sure to write them out in detail. If your request is for excusal because of the illness of someone other than yourself, you must get a letter from their doctor stating that you are needed at home with them and submit it with this form.

Then, fill in your return address on the front of this form and remember to place a stamp in the right-hand corner. The Court’s address is already printed for you on the front of the form. If you have lost or misplaced your Jury Excusal/Postponement Form, you can get a copy of this form by clicking here. Fill it in and mail it to the Court either by faxing it to 954-831-7054 or by mailing it to: Room #380, 201 SE 6th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-3302. Also, if you have any additional paperwork you are submitting along with this form, put both the form and the paperwork in an envelope and send it to the address above.

It is extremely important that you mail your request for excusal or postponement as quickly as possible. The Court must receive it at least seven (7) days prior to the date you are supposed to report for jury duty.

You will be notified by mail as to whether the court has accepted your excusal or postponement request.

DO NOT call the court to get excused or to get your jury service postponed to a later date. No excusals or postponements will be granted over the phone!

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If I'm not excused, what do I tell my boss?

Employers must allow their employees to have time off to attend jury duty and to serve as jurors on a trial if picked. You cannot be fired for serving on jury duty!

On the top portion of your summons form, you will see a section called “Employer’s Copy.” You need to tear this section off and give it to your employer. It tells your employer that you have been selected to serve as a juror on a specified date and also lists the law regarding your employer’s responsibilities on the opposite side.

You have to give this “Employer’s Copy” section to your employer at least five (5) days prior to the date you are required to serve.

You should also ask about your employer’s policy as to whether you will continue to be paid while on jury duty. Some employers will fully compensate you with your normal wages while you serve on jury duty while other employers won’t pay you at all. Also, if your employer does continue to pay you, he or she is allowed to deduct an amount equal to your juror compensation from your wages. You need to check with your employer before you report for jury duty since your compensation or lack thereof may have an impact on whether you are selected to serve as a juror in a trial.

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How long is jury service?

One (1) day or one (1) trial. However, you should be aware that if an emergency occurs, the court can extend jury service beyond the “One Trial or One Day” rule. Absent an emergency, this rule means that on the date you’re required to report to jury duty, you will either have to stay for one entire day or one entire trial depending on whether or not you are picked to be a juror in a trial. If you are not assigned to a courtroom to be part of a jury panel at all during the day (meaning that you stay in the Jury Assembly Room), you have to stay at the courthouse for the entire day, and your day ends at 4:00 P.M. If you are assigned to a courtroom to be part of a jury panel, the judge will determine what the end of the day is. If you end up being picked from that panel to be a juror in a trial, you will have to stay for the entire duration of the trial.

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Do I get paid for jury service?

Yes, but the amount depends on your employment status and on your employer. On your summons form, in the “Juror Information” section, you will see a paragraph called “Compensation.” This section tells you the compensation you are entitled to from the State:

If you are regularly employed and your employer continues to pay you your regular wages while you have Jury Duty, you will not get paid for the first three (3) days of service. This means that if your service lasts for only one day, you will not get paid. If you are picked to serve on a trial that lasts more than the one day, the state does not have to start paying you until the fourth (4th) day of the trial.

If you are regularly employed and your employer does not continue to pay you your regular wages while you have Jury Duty, you are entitled to $15.00 per day, paid by the State, for the first three (3) days of service. If you are unemployed, you are entitled to $15.00 per day, paid by the State, for the first three (3) days of service.

No matter what, each juror who serves more than three (3) days is entitled to be paid $30.00 per day, by the State, for the fourth (4th) day and each day thereafter of service.

Additionally, in Broward County, there is an ordinance that requires employers to pay their full-time employees for up to five (5) days while serving jury duty. For this to apply, you have to work at least thirty-five (35) hours per week and must give your employer the “Employer’s Copy” on your summons form at least five (5) working days prior to the day you are required to appear for jury duty.

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How do I get paid by the state?

A check will be mailed to the address on your summons about two (2) weeks after your service is completed.

As a side note, on your check you will see a message printed that gives you the option of donating your jury service compensation.

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What happens if I don't show up?

If you fail to attend without a sufficient excuse, you may be held in Contempt of Court!

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