If you get stuck on jury duty, you are going to have to miss a few days of work. You are going to be stuck in a stuffy room with strangers you don’t know. And you are probably going to end up arguing with the other jurors.
If you want to avoid all of these inconveniences, here is how to get out of jury duty.
What is jury duty?
First, you are going to get a summons in the mail, telling you when to report to a courthouse. If you do not appear, then you could be fined. You could even serve time in prison. As a citizen, you are required to engage in jury duty (or to give a good reason why you are not able to be there).
When you arrive at the courthouse, you are going to be questioned along with a group of other potential jurors. In the end, only twelve are going to be selected to move onto the actual court case.
If you are chosen, legally, your workplace is required to give you time off without punishment. However, whether or not you get paid during your time off depends on what state you are living in at the time.
Once you have been selected, the judge is going to let you know how long the trial is expected to last, which could be only a few days or could be a few months.
As a member of the jury, you’ll get to sit through the entire case and won’t be able to tell the details to anyone outside of the court. In the end, you will have a conversation with the other jurors and vote on whether you believe someone is innocent or guilty. You won’t be able to leave the room until you come to an agreement — unless you are unable to come to a verdict and the jury is ‘hung,’ which means the case is retired.
When the case is finally over and you are able to return home, you are finally free to discuss the details of the case and to head back to your normal life.
How do you get out of jury duty beforehand?
If you do not even want to show up for your summons, you can write a letter explaining your reasoning.
If you are a student, then explain how you are worried about missing lectures because you do not want your absence to prevent you from graduating.
If you are a parent, then explain how you are unable to get a babysitter for your children and need to remain home with them.
If you are struggling financially, explain how you cannot afford to take so much time off from work.
If you know someone who is related to the case, then explain how you are unable to remain unbiased because of your connections.
If you are pregnant, explain how there are important doctor’s appointments that you are unable to miss for the safety of your baby.
You might also be able to escape jury duty by writing a letter with a note from your doctor or therapist. Explain if you have bad anxiety and are unable to leave the house to drive to the court. Explain if you have a bad back and cannot remain seated in a court for a large amount of time. Explain if you just went through the death of a close family member and are not in a healthy mental state.
If all else fails, you can always request to put off your summons for six months. However, you are only allowed to do this two or three times, depending on your state.
How do you get dismissed from jury duty?
Just because you are summoned, it does not mean you will actually have to serve on a jury. Beforehand, you will have to sit in a room and answer questions to see if you are one of the chosen ones.
You are not going to get chosen for jury duty if you seem biased. If you admit that you are never going to accuse someone of committing a crime, despite how much evidence you see (out of guilt or fear that someone is going to find you and take revenge on you), then they probably won’t want you on the jury.
You could also try coming across as someone who is easily manipulated, someone who will decide to vote with what the group says instead of forming your own opinion. This might work because courts want you to remain impartial and listen closely to the facts presented. They don’t want you giving into peer pressure.
This one is a little risky, but if you admit that you are not a fan of the police force and believe the court system is flawed, they might dismiss you. They could also dismiss you for acting too quiet or too cocky, too nice or too rude. In truth, they can dismiss you for any reason they see fit and they do not have to tell you the reason why.
If you want to get out of jury duty, make sure you come across as someone you would never want proving your innocence or your guilt.