Do you want to know how to get out of jury duty without getting into trouble? In this article, we’ll talk about the strategies you can use to get out of jury duty that are legal and simple.
How do you feel when you receive a summons from the court? The initial feelings are of panic and anxiety. After the initial panic is over, you finally get the courage to read the letter. When you read the letter, you feel a little relieved and much annoyed at the same time.
You are relieved because no one has filed a lawsuit against you. You are annoyed because the letter is nothing but a notice of your jury duty.
The court has called on you to perform jury duty on a specific date.
What is jury duty?
It is the civic duty to serve as a juror in a legal case on a particular date. As a juror, you must ensure a speedy and fair jury trial for the defendant.
How to get out of jury duty with a few simple strategies
As a responsible citizen of the country, you have to do your jury duty. However, sitting in the jury box and hearing the attorney’s speech in favor of his client may seem like a tedious task for you. Time is a precious asset, and you may not like to waste it in the courtroom unnecessarily. Time means money. Spending a few hours in court means nothing but dollars going out of your window.
However, duty is a duty. You cannot avoid it. If you do not report to the court on the given date, you may have to pay hefty penalties. Your hardships will not end there. The court may charge you with contempt of court and send you to jail for two years.
Is there no way out of this problem? Well, there are some ways to get out of jury duty, and this post is all about that. So, without wasting any words, let us determine how to get out of jury duty without any penalties.
Proving that serving your jury duty will lead to financial hardship
The best way to get out of jury duty is to prove that serving will cost you money. You need to substantiate with proper documentation that serving will cause financial hardship. It will lead to a loss of income, which you cannot afford at this point. For example, you can show relevant documents to the court and prove that you are in credit card debt. You have joined a credit card debt consolidation program to pay off your debts. But you need to save every penny for that. You cannot afford any loss of income now.
Show your pay stubs, bank account statements, credit card statements, tax returns, annual financial statements, proof of employment, and so on. The court will check all the documents to decide the actual cost of serving on the jury.
If you are an entrepreneur, then it may be easy to give an excuse. If you are a solopreneur, you can prove that there will be a massive loss of income in your absence.
There is no guarantee that the court will release you from your obligations due to your financial hardship. There is no rule that the court has to exempt you from your responsibilities due to income loss. If the court decides that you have to do your jury duty, there is no way to avoid it.
Explain that you cannot attend court due to health issues
How can you get out of jury duty when you cannot use the excuse of financial hardship? Well, you can show a doctor’s prescription to prove that you are not well. If the court sees that you have a genuine medical issue, the court may relieve you from your jury duty. If you have any physical or mental illness, the court will be less likely to ask you to serve your jury duty.
Use your student status to your advantage
Are you a full-time student? If so, then you can use your student status to postpone your jury duty date. Inform the court that you are a full-time student and cannot attend the court on the specified date to complete your jury date. You have to attend classes and have study obligations.
Many states exempt students from jury duty obligations when they report their time constraints. So, when you receive a summons for jury duty, you can request for a full exemption, or you can ask the court to postpone the date to your upcoming vacation break. The court will change the date accordingly. However, the court is likely to inform you that you cannot change the date further.
If you are lucky, then your date may get postponed by even one year.
Most universities are conducting online classes due to COVID-19. Many states also exempt students from attending courts due to this reason.
Read your summons and ask your friends for suggestions
Even if you do not know the state laws, you should read your summons in detail. Explore the web world to find out how to get out of jury duty. Find out the exceptions or laws that can help postpone your summons. Speak to your friends, family members, and colleagues who have served jury duty. Ask them about their experience.
Some of them can give you helpful suggestions. Others can tell you the small loopholes in the law, which you can take advantage of to skip your jury duty.
Each jurisdiction has separate rules and regulations. Some of your friends can give you information on that. For example, California does not exempt students from their jury duty just because they have classes (source). Your friends can tell if there is any way to get respite from your jury duty.
Request the court to reschedule your date
Federal, state, and local courts have a computerized process to select people for jury duty. If your name comes at the top of the list, the court will send you a jury notice.
What if you wish to escape jury duty? In that case, you can postpone the process by submitting a new jury form by giving various types of excuses. Fill out the jury form and explain that you cannot be at the court on the specified date due to the following reasons:
- You are not well. You are suffering from a chronic medical issue.
- You have an exam on that date. You cannot do your jury duty on that day.
- You will be out of the country or state on that date.
- You are all set to join the army.
No matter what excuse you give, make sure it’s a valid one. If given a reason, the court will ask you to send proof of your claim. They will check all the documents to verify if you are telling the truth. Many people try to dodge their jury duty, and the court is aware of this fact. If your documents are valid and the court accepts them, they can postpone your date by another year.
Reschedule your jury duty for December
If the court agrees to postpone your jury date, you can request a date in December. It is a smart strategy to skip your jury duty indirectly.
December is the month when most people love to stay back at home due to severe snowfall. There is a significant probability that the court will cancel your hearing due to extreme weather conditions. They may even shift your hearing to another date next year. No one can blame you, as it is the court who is doing it. If you are fortunate, then the court may not call you again. You will fulfill your civic duty without visiting the court.
A word of wisdom
Avoid submitting false statements or documents about your financial situation. If the court observes that you have lied or submitted false documents, you may face legal consequences due to a perjury charge.
Finally, you can get out of your jury duty in a few other ways. You can request the court to prepone the date of your court hearing. It is a smart strategy as there are already many people in the pipeline. If your court hearing date is too close, then there is an excellent probability that the attorneys responsible for jury selection have candidates ready to go. Therefore, you may not have to attend court hearings at all.
Attorneys will ask you a few questions to determine if you can act as a juror. If you give answers that do not impress attorneys, they may not select you as a juror. You can again skip your jury duty.
Hopefully, now you know how to get out of jury duty without being penalized. Use any of the discussed strategies to get out of your jury duty. Just make sure you do not make false claims or submit fake documents. Otherwise, you may have to serve your duty in jail as a convict of perjury of duty instead of enjoying the comforts of your home.
Linda Richardson is a New Jersey-based financial writer and perennial student with an ongoing interest in learning new things. She uses her curiosity, connected with her knowledge as a financial expert, to write about a valuable lesson for small businesses. You can find her on Twitter at @LindaRossie9 or email her at [email protected]. She currently writes for https://www.creditcardconsolidationdebt.com/