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Jury Duty, What if I Miss My Jury Date, and What are Permissible Excuses to Postpone Service?

Pianko Law Group 
July 26, 2021

Service on a jury is a part of your civic duty in the United States and, almost everyone will be selected to serve at some point in their life. It is important to never ignore your jury duty summons. If you do, you can be held in contempt of court. Contempt of court can result in being punished with jail time. However, most of the time you will receive a second summons.

If you cannot serve your jury duty summons instead of ignoring it, you should request an excuse from service. A few examples of permitted excuses include:

  1. Economic Hardship

This is one of the most common reasons that individuals are excused from jury duty because serving presents that person with economic hardship. Such a problem can be due to an employer being unwilling to pay their employee for the time they spend on jury duty.

  1. Full-Time Student Statutes 

If you attend an accredited college or university and serving in jury duty would create a situation for you to miss a significant number of classes, prevent you from graduating or hinder your ability to pass a class you can be excused from jury duty.

  1. Medical Excuses 

If you are recovering from surgery or experiencing an illness, you can potentially get out of jury duty. Having a doctor’s note will help support your claim.

  1. Relation to the case

If you have any relation to the case that will bring about a conflict of interest, then you should not participate in jury duty for that specific matter and be excused.

  1. You already served

If you have served on jury duty and completed your jury service within the last two years, you can be dismissed. Make sure that you have documentation or can explain when and where you served.

  1. Military duty 

If you are serving in the military, then this may be a reasonable excuse from jury duty. You will need to provide a letter from your superior

  1. Childcare (dependent care) 

If you are the sole childcare provider for your child(ren) and cannot afford daycare, this can be a legitimate excuse from serving in jury duty.

  1. You have moved 

If you are no longer a resident of the county that has served you, you do not qualify to be a juror.

The above examples are not an exhaustive list of reasons to be excused from jury duty, but they are some of the most common permitted excuses. It is important to note that these are not automatic exemptions from service, and you will need to contact the Commission of Jurors for the country you are requesting an exemption form. Make sure to never ignore your jury duty summons and always submit for a postponement or to be excused, if you cannot serve.

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