If you are selected to serve on a “Petit Jury,” you will hear a case which is criminal or civil. A criminal trial will involve a felony (a more serious type of crime). The law requires twelve (12) jurors to be seated in a criminal case, only eight (8) jurors are required in a civil case. In a criminal trial, the jury must find a litigant “guilty” or “not guilty” by unanimous vote. In civil cases the law requires a vote of at least three-fourths of the jury to reach a verdict. Most jury trials will seat an “alternate-juror,” in the event, sickness or unforeseen circumstances arise in which one of the regular jurors are unable to hear the entire trial. The “alternate-juror” hears the trial, in its entirety, but does not participate in jury deliberations unless the alternate replaced one of the original jurors.
A “Grand Jury” hears evidence about crimes and decides whether or not a person should be “indicted” and tried for committing a crime. The grand jury does not decide guilt or innocence. If you are summoned to court to be selected for service on a grand jury, you will probably serve for a longer period of time than if you served on a petit jury.