Lino Ochoa | January 11, 2024 | Information
Jury duty is a civic responsibility many of us may face at some point. However, getting a summons for jury duty can be a daunting experience for anyone. The thought of serving on a jury and the potential disruption it can bring to your life can be overwhelming.
A common misconception is that only registered voters are called for jury duty. In McAllen, Texas, this is not true. The court system has various ways of tracking potential jurors, including lists of licensed drivers from the DMV and other sources.
Understanding more about jury duty in McAllen, TX, can help you feel more prepared to handle this civil responsibility.
The Jury Summons Process
McAllen lists potential jurors each September based on various criteria, such as driver’s licenses, state identification cards, and voter registration. The selection process is random, ensuring that jury duty is impartially assigned.
A jury summons received in the mail should be taken seriously. You will receive a date to report to the courthouse for service. Fortunately, in McAllen, you can check the official website to see if your presence is required before the scheduled date.
The Jury Selection Process
When you report to the courthouse, you’ll undergo an interview called voir dire. During voir dire, the judge and lawyers will speak with potential jurors to learn more about them and identify potential biases. It’s an essential step to ensure a fair trial.
You May Be Excused from Jury Duty for a Valid Reason
While serving on a jury is a civic duty, there are valid reasons for being excused. McAllen’s courts recognize that undue hardship or certain circumstances may prevent you from fulfilling this duty.
While there are valid reasons, the court must be relatively strict in excusing individuals to ensure a sufficient pool of jurors. Common valid reasons include extreme hardship, medical conditions, financial hardship, etc.
To request an excuse from jury duty, you can file a written request with the jury administrator, explaining your reasons. However, it’s important to note that writing an excuse letter does not guarantee exemption, and each case is considered individually.
What to Expect During Jury Duty
Navigating jury duty’s duration and inner workings can be mysterious for many. So, how long can you expect to serve on a jury, and what happens inside that jury room?
The duration of jury duty can vary significantly based on the type of case you are assigned to. You can be in personal injury cases from car, truck, and bus accidents to product liability or wrongful death.
Civil and criminal cases can range from a single day to several weeks or months, depending on the case.
What Happens in the Jury Room?
Once assigned to a jury, you will participate in deliberations, discussing the case’s facts to determine if there was a breach of duty. Also, consider and apply the judge’s instructions regarding the law. The verdict must be unanimous in criminal cases.
Grand Jury Duty Is Different
Grand jury duty is a separate process where you evaluate whether there is enough evidence to charge a suspect with a crime. It can last for weeks or even months.
The Importance of Jury Duty in Personal Injury Cases
Understanding the jury process is crucial if you’re involved in a personal injury lawsuit. Every aspect, from jury selection to instructions, can impact the outcome. Having a trial attorney with experience in the jury process is essential.
In McAllen, TX, jury duty is a civic responsibility, and while it can be inconvenient, there are valid reasons for being excused if necessary. Understanding the process and your rights when called for jury duty can help you navigate this obligation more effectively. Jury duty is paramount to our justice system, ensuring a fair and just society. A knowledgeable trial attorney can also be invaluable if you’re involved in a personal injury case.
Contact a McAllen, TX Personal Injury Lawyer of The Law Office of Lino H. Ochoa for more help
We serve Hidalgo County and its surrounding areas:
Hours: Monday to Friday,
from 9 am – 5 pm