Jury Service: Qualifications, Exemptions and Excuses

Jury service is a way for United States citizens to participate in the judicial process. It is one of the most important civic duties you can perform.

Qualifications

Qualifying questions are based on a national platform and help the jury office determine whether a person is legally qualified to serve as a juror. Even if you know you will not qualify based on the criteria listed your responses are still required.

To be qualified for jury service a person must:

  • Be a United States citizen;
  • Be at least 18 years of age;
  • Reside primarily in the judicial district for one year;
  • Be adequately proficient in English to satisfactorily complete the juror qualification form;
  • Have no disqualifying mental or physical condition;
  • Not currently be subject to felony charges punishable by imprisonment for more than one year; and
  • Never have been convicted of a felony (unless civil rights have been legally restored)

Exemptions

There are some groups of persons who are exempt from jury service:

  • Full-time paid members of the armed forces on active duty;
  • Full-time paid members of professional fire and police departments; and
  • Full-time paid "public officers" of federal, state or local governments.

Excuses at the Qualifying Phase

Upon request the following additional persons may be excused in the District of NH. You will need to complete your Qualifying Questionnaire to access the excuse and it is available at both the qualifying and summoned phase:

  • persons who are over age 70;
  • persons who have served on a grand or petit jury within a 2-year period; and
  • volunteer safety personnel, such as persons who serve without compensation as firefighters or members of a rescue squad or ambulance crew for a public agency.

Other Excuses and Postponements if Summoned for Service

Persons later summoned for jury service may request an excuse or postponement on the grounds of undue hardship or extreme inconvenience. After you complete your summons questionnaire, follow the instructions on your summons to submit a request to be excused or postponed. Your request should be submitted to the jury office by the deadline on your summons to allow adequate processing time.

Requests can only be considered after summons questions are answered.

You will hear from the jury office with the court’s decision. Until you receive a decision, you should plan to report as instructed, following the instructions included with your summons.

Click here to contact the Jury Office.

You may learn more about jury service in the federal courts at www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/jury-service.