The Only 4 Ways to Get Out of Jury Duty
There are just a few things that could keep you from getting selected for a trial.
Getting selected for jury duty is one of the great equalizers, where everyone in society is expected to show up and do their part every few years. Unfortunately, the call to perform your civic duty can sometimes fall at the worst moment or be too much for you to work into your hectic schedule. And while it's certainly essential to play your part in our justice system, there are still a few things that could keep you from being put on a trial. Read on for the only ways to get out of jury duty, according to experts.
You have a specific job.
Dealing with a busy work schedule can be enough on your plate as it is without having to worry about jury duty. But there are a few specific areas of employment that could keep you from having to report to court.
"Three types of people are automatically exempt from jury duty: active members of the military, professional firefighters and police officers, and full-time public government officials," Mike Mandell, lawyer and principal attorney at Mandell Law, tells Best Life. "While these exemptions apply to federal courts, many state courts will likely have the same ones. Just be sure to check your state's rules."
You meet specific exemption criteria.
Of course, the running joke is that everyone feels like they have a valid excuse to keep themselves off jury duty. However, experts say there are a few cases in which you might be excused if you make your situation known.
"You will want to check your jury summons for viable excuses, but they usually include having recently served on a jury, child care obligations, travel distance, age (e.g., if you're over 70 years old), being a volunteer firefighter or part of an emergency crew, and financial hardship—including having a job that won't pay you in your absence," says Mandell. "But this is just a request and not a guarantee you will be excused from jury duty."
You cannot be a non-biased juror.
If none of the previous exemptions apply to you, Mandell says you'll likely need to attend jury duty. However, that doesn't mean you'll necessarily end up getting selected.
"A lawyer is unlikely to select people who have biases, who think they are an expert on the subject, who are relatives to anyone in the case or to someone who works in law enforcement, who expresses they don't follow the rules, or who are rebellious, who have a bad attitude, and—believe it or not—who are too enthusiastic about serving on the jury," he says.
You ask to postpone.
While getting out of jury duty altogether forever is highly unlikely for most people, it still doesn't mean you can't put off performing your civic obligation. In many jurisdictions, it's possible to select a postponement of up to six months with no excuses necessary, according to Lifehacker.
In some cases, you can use this tactic two or three times before you'll finally be required to show up—which can be handy if you receive a summons before a major family event such as a wedding or vacation. But still, it's essential to check your local laws to see what applies to your situation.
…But you still might want to consider performing your civic duty.
There's no denying that jury duty can pop up at some pretty inconvenient times. But experts also point out that your involvement can greatly benefit yourself and others and that trying to evade it forever is in nobody's best interests.
"I'd like to stress why you should want to go to jury duty!" says Mandell. "As a juror, you have a chance to bring justice to the world and impact the lives of others. Participating in it is the only way you can bring change to the system!"
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