Being called to serve on a jury is a duty most Americans dread. Fortunately, there are several legal ways to avoid jury duty, and with a little conviction and elbow grease, you too can steer clear of this stressful civic obligation. While being part of a jury is a way to participate in a free and fair democracy, the system in place often makes it difficult for prospective jurors to find the time and support to make the necessary sacrifices in order to serve. This inconvenience understandably forces many to question just how to get out of jury duty.
While not every item on the following list will be applicable to everyone, there are certainly a few things worth trying. The worst the courts can do is refuse your request to be dismissed, but, handled correctly, one of these tasks just might be your ticket out of the courthouse. But remember: lying to the courts is perjury—which is a crime—so be sure your attempts to ditch the juror's box are truthful.
Find Any Personal Connections With The Case
If you've made it onto a jury and are still desperate to get out of there, start searching for any personal connections you might have with the case you're hearing. Jurors legally cannot sit on a jury where they know one of the parties involved in the complaint. Also, consider carefully if you've heard details about the case previously, such as in the newspaper or on the internet; depending on how much you know, you can be disqualified for hearing about the case prior to deliberations.
Serve On A Jury Within The Last 12 Months
The most foolproof way of avoiding jury duty? Serve on a jury! If you have served on a jury in the previous 12 months, you cannot legally be called to serve again until after the one-year mark has passed. For most people, it's years before they're called again.
Obtain A Doctor's Note
A note from a doctor or specialist is a relatively easy way to get dismissed from jury duty. Courts assume you are physically and mentally fit to serve, so a doctor's note stating otherwise will often be enough to have you relieved of your duty. Be sure it is a real doctor's note describing a real condition you have. Even better, schedule any necessary medical procedures for the dates surrounding your jury duty summons.
Say Something Offensive
Courts want jurors with open hearts and open minds, people willing to hear both sides of a story and weigh all the evidence carefully. People with offensive, prejudiced views do not possess these abilities. So, if you're desperate to ditch jury duty and you're also a secret—or not-so-secret—bigot, you can always make an offensive comment and hope the courts dismiss you. Just be careful that it isn't considered hate speech or construed as harassment; in those cases, you could face legal consequences.