Ways to get out of jury duty
Curious to know how to get out of jury duty? So you’ve been selected to perform your civic duty to be part of a court jury. A jury is a legally sworn group of people convened during trials to decide whether a defendant is guilty or not. Their decision comes from facts and evidence presented and should be impartial when submitted to the court for the final ruling.
Juries date back to England during the Middle Ages, and they are the hallmark of the Anglo common law legal system. They are still called for court trials in the United States and hundreds of other countries. If you’ve been called to serve in one but want to know how to get out of jury duty, read on below.
Jury duty as mandated by the law
Citizens of the United States are required to heed the summons of jury duty. There are ways to get out of jury duty but only if you really do not want or genuinely are unable to play your role. Under the Jury System Improvement Act of 1978, your employers are required to give you the time off necessary to fulfill your court obligations.
This law also prohibits employers from punishing their employees in any way or form, and they cannot terminate employees from work or threaten to cut down hours if jury leave is requested. In most states, there are additional laws to protect prospective jurors and their personal information.
How to opt-out of jury duty
American citizens 18 years old and above may qualify to serve in the federal courts on a jury. The Jury Selection and Service Act establishes the process for selecting jurors and states the qualifications a person must meet for jury service. If you are unable or simply refuse to join jury trials for some reason or another, there are ways on how to get out of jury duty.
Avoiding jury duty can be tricky but not impossible. While some excuses are more cumbersome than others, they often work. But first, remember that lying to a legal judgment of a superior court may lead to fines or even criminal charges. Any reason for how to get out of jury duty should be based on the truth. Below are some legal ways to accomplish this.
Acquire a doctor’s note
If you’re physically or mentally ill, a note or prescription from your primary care physician will excuse you from jury duty. Do not attempt to fake medical conditions, as this can get both you and your doctor in trouble. Broken bones, chronic heart disease, anxiety, and other common conditions are all acceptable for not fulfilling jury duty.
Use your student status
Use your student status as an excuse. If you are a full-time student, the chances are that your state will excuse you from jury duty. If your state doesn’t offer this loophole, you might still have options such as postponement or rescheduling. Some states even consider online classes, and some people sign up for one full-course load just after they get summoned.
Request for a change of date
This might come as a surprise, but a jury summon is not a word set in stone. If your trial date comes in conflict with any big event in your life, you can request a reschedule. For example, if you have a graduation, wedding, vacation, or another event, you can postpone your serving date. There might even be a chance you won’t be summoned again.
Plead economic hardship
Economic hardship can mean many things. If you can prove that being called for jury duty will be a serious financial burden, you may be excused. If missing a day or more from work or missing deadlines on your service date can put you and your family in a precarious place financially, submit full financial statements and tax return files. Approval for this is rare, though.
Explain that you are biased
Personal bias can also be one of the ways on how to get out of jury duty. If you truly cannot provide a fair and impartial verdict, you cannot be allowed to report for jury duty. Voicing your prejudices is a good way to let the judge and your fellow jurors know that you cannot ensure a fair trial. Just be sure they really are your prejudices and are not just made up.
Prove you served recently
Jury duty is only required once every year. The selection process is all computerized, so there could be errors, although they don’t happen very often. If you get summoned twice, you could get automatically excused from serving again. Just be sure to provide the proper documents and information to the federal officer to be submitted to the court.
Do all U.S. citizens have to do jury duty at some point?
Jurors are only asked to do jury duty once every year, in part to make sure that the selection process is fair and random. Given that there are millions of Americans and that number is more than there are court cases, perhaps not every U.S. citizen will be given a chance.
So you might want to rethink not attending jury trials as they can be a great experience. Not only are you participating in a democratic process. However, you also get to experience going inside a federal court and see the workings of the justice system. Some people would love to spend what would likely be a monotonous, boring workday to experience the courtroom firsthand.
What is the oldest age for jury duty?
Each of the federal district courts has its own rules about jury duty. Most of them know there are many legal ways on how to get out of jury duty. They honor these excuses, too, given that the summoned citizen is truthful about it. If you are at the legal age of 18 and above, you can be summoned for jury duty at any time of the year.
Can you be too old to serve on a jury? Technically, no. Many states do not put an age limit on jurors. However, if you are over the age of 70 and suffering from one or multiple conditions, you will most definitely be excluded if you or your family member requests it. In California, they don’t even require a doctor’s note if you are a senior citizen, but you must still inform the court.
While it may be a big part of the democratic justice system, many people don’t have time or interest in serving jury duty. There are a few ways to get out of jury duty. These won’t involve changing your citizenship or taking a permanent vacation. These are all legal ways, but they can be tricky, and they would involve being completely honest to federal officers.
If you truly believe you are unqualified to serve, try the reasons listed above and see if they work. Just be sure to provide any significant paperwork or documents to prove your reason. Another concern for potential jurors nowadays is jury scams.
If anyone calls or emails you and asks for your social security number and personal information, stating they are court officials asking you to be on jury duty, report it to the authorities immediately.