These Tricks Will Give You the Best Chance of Getting Out of Jury Duty

First, just to be clear: It’s your civic duty to serve on a jury when that’s what you’re called to do. Not only is it a privilege to participate in the justice system, but also jury duty is a great way to break up the endless monotony of your daily life. Why spend another boring day working your 9-to-5 when you can experience the courtroom firsthand?

Still, many people don’t have time or interest in serving jury duty, and for them, there are a few methods of getting pardoned that don’t involve fleeing the country and changing your name. Bear in mind that lying to a judge to get out of jury duty may lead to fines or even criminal contempt charges. Be sure that whatever reason you use to get out of serving is truthful.

Ahead, check out the best ways to legally get out of jury duty.

1. Get a doctor’s note

Older at doctor
A medical condition could work for getting out of jury duty. | monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

If you’re physically or emotionally unable to serve on a jury, a note from your doctor will do the trick to get you out of jury duty.

There’s no need to lie — medical conditions, mental disorders, and other maladies are used all the time to excuse jurors. If you’re unsure whether you qualify for this excuse, talk it over with your doctor or specialist before requesting the note.

Next: Push it off until later.

2. Postpone your selection

Jurors during trial
Life events could give you an out. | iStock/Getty Images

If you’re an accountant and you get called for jury duty during tax season, it’s perfectly reasonable for you to postpone your serve date for a better time. Same goes for any other big event going on in your life — wedding preparation, vacations, or anything really.

Postponing your serve date could mean that you won’t get selected again, or that when you do get selected you won’t need to report for duty. Try requesting a date in December — that’s the month where you’re least likely to get called in.

Next: Go back to college.

3. Use school as an excuse

School classroom
Some students are exempt from serving. | maroke/iStock/Getty Images

In some states, full-time students are exempt from serving jury duty if they don’t want to do it.

Not a student? No problem. Just sign up for a full course load right after you get your summons to avoid serving. And then you could even learn a new skill or start a brand new career path.

Next: This excuse covers a lot of ground.

4. Plead hardship

Say it might be difficult for you to serve on a long trial. | 3drenderings/iStock/Getty Images

Using the hardship excuse is a fine line to walk — for most, hardship means that being called to serve on a multi-day or multi-week trial would be impossible from a financial standpoint. Private employers don’t often pay for missed days of work that you accrue while serving on a jury and the stipend you receive from the court is very minimal.

If you have 10 kids at home and no babysitter or if you are the sole financial provider for your family and can’t afford to miss work, then this excuse is fair. But if you’re a retiree who believes it would be a “hardship” to miss your afternoon soap operas, forget it.

Next: Be vocal about your bias.

5. Admit that you can’t be fair

Smiling lawyer holding file in courtroom
Voice prejudices during the selection. | Chris Ryan/OJO Images/Getty Images

If you have any kind of bias that would affect your ability to provide a fair and impartial verdict, the time to mention that is during the jury selection. Voicing your prejudices is a good way to ensure that everyone receives a fair trial — and it will get you out of serving if you’re telling the truth.

Next: You may qualify for this loophole.

6. Prove you served recently

court judge gavel
You only have to serve once per year. | Chris Ryan/OJO Images/Getty Images

You only have to serve on jury duty once per year, so if your number comes up twice in one year, you could get automatically excused. Just make sure that you communicate the information and get yourself officially excused by the court.

Next: Let your true nature shine through.

7. Show your stubborn side

gavel and scales of justice
People don’t want a stubborn know-it-all on a jury. | Brian A Jackson/iStock/Getty Images

When you act like a know-it-all, no one will want you to serve on the jury. Again, don’t lie about being stubborn, but expressing this particular aspect of your personality is a good way to keep from getting picked to serve on a jury.

Next: Dating this person almost guarantees you won’t serve.

8. Date a convict

the bars of a jail cell looking down the hallway
There’s almost no way you’ll serve on a jury if you’re dating a prisoner. | Richard Bouhet/AFP/Getty Images

Romantic relationships spring from prison pen pal correspondence all the time. It’s almost foolproof — if you can prove you have a lover serving time, there’s basically no chance of getting picked to serve on a jury.

Next: Give your opinion about cops.

9. Voice your strong opinions about police officers

A black band with the badge number of Virginia State Police
Any bias might get you off a jury. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Whether you love them or hate them, admitting any kind of bias toward law enforcement will ensure you won’t get picked for jury duty. It’s unwise to lie in the courtroom — but if you’re extremely pro- or anti-police, be sure to make that known during the jury selection.

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