Do you dread jury duty? The thought of taking a day or worse, several days, out of your regular routine to trudge down to the courthouse and sit around all day while waiting to be picked for a jury can by irritating and inconvenient. If you just don't have the time to attend, consider these steps to get out of jury duty.
- Read the notice closely. You will be notified of assigned jury duty by a written notice often called a summons. In your area you might be served notice to appear for different types of jury duty including federal, state and local courts. Each of these jurisdictions might have a different policy regarding jury duty. Read the notice in detail to determine what date or series of dates you have been called for, whether you can call ahead for exemption or if you have to show up in person to make your request. The notice will include information for what options you have to get out of jury duty.
- Check your local requirements. Each state and local court has different guidelines for jury duty. On the summons there should be a list of options or acceptable reasons for requesting exemption from jury duty. Follow the guidelines that apply to your situation. In some cases all you need to show is a financial need and inability to miss work.
- Request a change. If you need to get out of jury duty for a specific date because you already have a planned vacation or important event at work, you might be able to request a change of date. This won't exempt you from duty for long but it will help you avoid the conflict on a specific date. When you receive your notice or summons there should be a section that discusses requesting a change of date. Follow the guideline and complete the form to make your request.
- Send a letter. Given the chance, present your case in writing. With your response to the jury summons provide your reasons why you cannot attend then respectfully request to be excused. Show respect for the process in your letter and provide any required documentation such as a letter from your employer or doctor if needed.
- Go to jury duty. The best way to get out of jury duty for the future is to serve duty the first time you get a summons. After that you will usually be put on the computerized list as having serve and will be less likely to be called when your turn comes around again. Remember that jury duty is a right and a privilege of a free society. Consider going and celebrating your duty instead of dreading the experience. Just because you attend for a day doesn't mean you will be picked to serve on a jury. By attending when called you might serve your civic duty with little inconvenience to your life.
- Resist the urge to lie. It might be tempting to make up an excuse or medical condition to get out of the duty. It might also be tempting to answer the judge's questions with bizarre and extreme viewpoints so you won't be chosen. Don't do this. In some jurisdictions lying to the court is a crime that will have consequences even if not part of a trial.
You can get out of jury duty if you follow these steps. Consider making an honest plea to be excused. Or just attend the duty and get it over with. It is a small part of your life.