How to Easily Get Out of Jury Duty

Jury duty is an obligation to serve your state. While it is a duty and obligation to serve occasionally in a jury, there could be some personal reasons why you are thinking twice about doing it.

Either way, you cannot just ignore jury duty. Failure to respond to a summons for jury duty is not a good idea: that could result in up to two years’ incarceration or a substantial fine.

However, if you have a legitimate reason for avoiding jury duty, you should go through the legal process of getting yourself excused.

This article not only advises on jury duty but also points out the various ways you can easily get out of jury duty.

What is Jury Duty?

Jury duty is a mandatory summon by the court. Failing to report for jury duty is illegal and results in a wide range of penalties, from simply being placed back into the selection pool to immediate criminal prosecution and having a bench warrant issued for contempt of court.

Employers are not allowed to fire an employee for being called to jury duty, but they are typically not required to pay salaries during this time. Jury duty reimbursement is as little as $5 per day, although a juror can plead to be excused for financial hardship.

A citizen who reports to jury duty may be asked to serve as a juror in a trial or as an alternate juror, or they may be dismissed.

In the United States, the act of registering to vote automatically places people into a pool of potential jurors, and those people are randomly selected to serve on a jury.

Potential jurors are questioned during a process called “voir dire” to determine whether or not they are capable of serving without partiality or bias. According to The New York Times, 82 percent of New Yorkers never make it past the voir dire stage.

How Long Does it Take to Complete Jury Duty?

Jury duty may be a short commitment, or it may be a long one. The average juror will serve three to four days on trial, and many jurors will be in and out after only a one- or two-day commitment.

If you are unlucky enough to find yourself on a long, drawn-out case (like a serious crime or a major civil dispute), you may end up working on that case for months, but that is very rare. Jury service is very unpredictable, and that is why so many people are eager to get out of it.

How to Easily Get Out of Jury Duty

There are several ways to get out of jury duty. We’ll be discussing the most feasible ones below.

#1. Prove economic hardship.

In many U.S. states, you can prove that serving on a jury would cause a serious financial burden on you. Use this excuse only if you honestly believe that you would not be able to get by if you had to miss work for one or more days.

When you first report for jury duty bring with you proof of employment and/or wages, a full financial statement, and the previous year’s tax return.

If you can persuade the judge that you cannot afford to miss work, you’ll have lost only one day of your time.

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Don’t lie about your financial situation. Lying to a court is called perjury. It’s a felony. You could also be charged with obstruction of justice.

#2. Request a change of date.

Almost all federal, state and local jury-selection processes are computerized. If your name appears on the list, they send an automated notice of jury duty to your registered address.

When you receive it, mark on the jury form that you need special accommodations and cannot make the requested attendance date. Include an explanation.

For example, you might say that you are quite sick, going out of town, studying for the bar, or planning on joining the military. If you have young children, consider using them as an excuse. You would have to convince the court that you cannot arrange for daycare or a babysitter.

#3. Request a date in December.

When you request for a change of date, ask for December, because then, there’s a far greater chance that trials will be delayed or moved.

You may never actually get called in, but you’re still fulfilling your civic duty. This is because, in December, the court usually goes on vacation.

#4. Use your student status as an excuse.

Many states excuse full-time students from jury duty. Even if you live in a state that doesn’t excuse students, you still have options.

In most cases, missed student work can be made up, but not missed lessons and lectures. Some states will even exempt students enrolled in online classes.

#5. Mental/emotional instability

If your family member recently passed away, or you are going through a divorce or any really hard time in your life that messes with your emotional and mental disability, you can use it as an excuse. You must know that in using this, your personal life would be made public.

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#6. Relation to the case

If you know someone involved in the case, chances are that you won’t be serving as a juror. This holds when working for an employer involved in the case or if you know any of the witnesses.

If you know someone or something about the case, be sure to speak up. If you live in a small town, you may know someone remotely involved with the case, and that could be enough to get you excused. This is because your ability to be impartial would be in dispute.

#7. Your line of work

Workers in the line of public service are usually excused from jury duty. Most police officers, lawyers, doctors, and government officials will be dismissed because of their extensive industry knowledge and experience.

If your line of work or personal experience will influence how you look at the specific case that’s in court, make sure you speak up. Doing so could get you fully excused.

#8. You already served

You may be summoned again and again, but you will not have to serve on a jury if you acted as a juror in a federal or state court at any time within the previous 2 years. If you have served in that period, then you will be excused immediately.

#9. You’re breastfeeding

If you aren’t pregnant, but you’re currently breastfeeding a child, you’ll most likely get excused. It is not uncommon for children to be breastfed up until they’re at least 1 year of age. The courts understand that breastfeeding a child is a serious commitment, and courts consistently excuse breastfeeding mothers for this reason.

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#10. You recently moved

Most criminal courts have jurisdiction over one county and cannot accept jurors who are residents of a different county. If you recently moved out of a county, you may still receive a summons from the county where you used to reside. If this is the case, contact the court before your summons date and you will certainly be excused from having to show up at all.

#11. Put it off

Worst-case scenario, if it isn’t an appropriate time for you to serve, you can always put it off. As long as you reschedule within one week of your original date, you can push the date forward up to 6 months.

#12. Surgery/medical reasons

If you just recently got back from surgery and maybe cannot sit for long periods, and you bring a note to prove this effect, you can be excused from jury duty.

#13. Being elderly

The age of service of jury duty varies according to each state. If you are over the maximum age of participation for jury service in a state, you would immediately be excused from jury duty the moment you bring it up. The age is usually 70, but it varies according to the state you reside.

#14. Being too opinionated

If you have strong opinions and beliefs that will prevent you from being a fair juror. You would be excused. You can find a way to show that you always side with the police on criminal matters. The jury wouldn’t want you because it would be assumed you would be partial.

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#15. You’re pregnant

You could say “I am currently having a high-risk pregnancy, and as a result, I have a tight schedule of doctor’s appointments that I cannot miss.” Just the mere fact that you are heavily pregnant could get you out of jury duty because you cannot be expected to sit for long hours.

#16. Extra enthusiasm

Believe it or not, but if you are especially enthusiastic about serving on a jury, there is a good chance that you will be dismissed. If you seem overly interested in being on the jury, there might be some question about whether or not you are biased, or have an agenda.

#17. You’re a small business owner

If you can prove that your business is the only source of income to your family, without which you and your family cannot feed or would suffer significant financial hardship, you may be excused for jury duty.

#18. Taking care of disabled parents

You may be excused from jury duty if you can explain why only you can provide the level of care necessary for your disabled parents.

For example, you may be the only reasonable person to provide this care if there is special training that you have had on how to care for their specific condition, how to administer medications or any other special knowledge you have that cannot be easily taken over by someone else.

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Consider all the reasons why it might be detrimental to the care of your parents if someone else, who was not familiar with their specialized care requirements, took over while you were serving on the jury. Articulate this to the judge and you have a very high likelihood of being excused.

FAQ

Do I get paid for jury duty?

If you are selected to serve, you will be compensated for your time on both a petit jury and a grand jury. Both typically pay a base rate of $40 a day. For a petit jury, the day rate increases to $50 daily once the trial has exceeded 10 days in length.

What happens if I miss jury duty?

An individual who misses jury duty could face severe charges. Penalties vary by state and could range from jail time to hefty fines. Instead, call the courthouse or provide notice online at least one week before your summoned date of service. You may then reschedule your jury duty for up to 2 to 6 months after your original date. This will leave you in good standing with the law.

Can I be excused from jury duty if my husband served time in federal prison?

No; this doesn’t disqualify you. This is because it is something that happened to your husband, and not you.

Can I be excused from serving jury duty if my ex-boyfriend works for the DEA

No; this doesn’t disqualify you. This is because it is something that happened to your husband, and not you.

Can I be excused from serving jury duty if my ex-boyfriend works for the DEA

You can be, it’s really up to the judge. This will likely heavily depend on what your relationship is like currently if he discusses the cases, he works on with you, and how that has affected you.

When do I know I’m to attend court for jury duty?

You should only attend court for jury service if you have received a summons. If you have received a summons, you must attend at the place and day stated in the summons unless you receive an email or a telephone call from the Federal Court telling you that you are not needed on that day. If you are told that you are needed on a different day, you must attend court on that different day.

Conclusion

If you receive a request for jury duty, which is also known as a “summon,” keep in mind that receiving a summon doesn’t mean that you are officially part of a jury, nor does it automatically mean that you will be listening to a case for weeks.

Receiving a summon means that you need to show up for the juror selection process. It is very likely that someday you will receive a notice stating that you’ve been randomly selected for jury duty. There are ways to easily get out of jury duty.

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