Nothing Throws Off Our Work Mojo Quicker Than Being Summoned By Our Judicial System. That’s Why We’ve Put Together These Helpful Tricks For How To Get Out Of Jury Duty, So You Can Let Someone Else Worry About It.
Jury duty is a funny thing. Some can move to a new city and instantly be called, while others who’ve lived in that same area their entire lives fly under the radar. Regardless of where you’re coming from, it can be very disruptive to your life and your pocketbook. (In other words, you’re not getting rich doing it, and whatever you do make will likely cut in to your normal earnings if you’re an hourly employee.) We have no idea how they make selections, but we know a thing or six about how to get out of jury duty. Read on and never be annoyed again.
1. Get Sick.
Okay, so we’re not exactly telling you to feign illness here — or maybe we are — but nothing is to stop you from going to your doctor and saying, “Hey, this is going to be a real drag on my finances. Anything you can do to help?” If you can get your primary care physician to write you a doctor’s note describing why you’ll be unable to participate, then you’re home free. Zero time wasted. Of course, it works best when the medical reason you can’t serve is legitimate — this is called a hardship reason — but you may still be able to pull something off regardless, depending on the rapport you have with ol’ Doc.
2. Have Your Jerk Boss Get Involved.
If you’re a valuable asset to your employer, then he’ll likely be as annoyed as you are with the idea of losing you to jury duty. You’ve already got an instant ally. Still, depending on where he falls on the ethics scale, it’s not necessarily a lock that he’ll go to bat for you without proof. That’s when it may be time to have a heart-to-heart about the projects you’re working on, what you’d like to have accomplished, and how he can help keep you in the office instead of in the courtroom. Chances are, he’ll be more than happy to help you weasel out of it. He’ll just have to give details for why losing you at work would be detrimental to his business. Between the two of you, we’re sure you can come up with something here, but it does have to be convincing.
3. Find A Reason You Can’t Be Impartial.
When you start digging around in your own past, it can be quite easy to manufacture reasons why you can’t be impartial. Of all the means for how to get out of jury duty, this one is the most common. While we don’t recommend it, it’s a cold hard fact that some people have racial or orientation prejudices that have no place on a panel of 12 people, who may be deciding between life and death. If you’ve got any racial hangups, now’s the time to get them out in the open. But it’s also worth noting that you don’t have to be a bigot to make this work for you. For example, if your mother was sexually assaulted and it has always made you irrational when it comes to accusations of sexual violence and the possibility of someone “getting away with it,” then you may not be the best person to weigh evidence on a man accused of rape charges. Think hard enough, and you’ll find a means for getting out of jury duty that will be foolproof.
4. Rely On Religion To Deliver You.
Some individuals have a belief system that precludes them from being a part of the jury process. We’re no experts on religion, so we can’t exactly tell you what those belief systems are, but chances are, if yours is one of them, you already know it. Have a talk with your pastor, minister, rabbi, priest, or religious leader, and explain to them why you object. They’ll be happy to write you a note, but they’ll have to be specific, and so must you be when explaining the problem. For all the ribbing the government takes over how it deals with religious people, it still recognizes your freedom of religion and will nine times out of ten stop before violating any principles you may have.
5. Conveniently Lose Your Babysitter’s Number.
Children can be crying, screaming, whining little brats that make you want to cut your own ears off and cauterize the exposed nerves until you can’t hear anything at all. But they can also be great helpers when it comes to getting out of jury duty, especially when you have no one willing to watch them or take care of them while you’re predisposed. The only drawback to using your kids as a method for how to get out of jury duty is that you may have to actually do what you’re saying you’ll do and take care of them. In that case, we recommend jury duty. (Kidding.) (Or are we?)
6. Make Those Failing Grades Pay Off.
One of the last great bastions of hope for how to get out of jury duty — if the others aren’t working for you — is turning to your grades. Of course, this is only a temp fix as long as you’re in school and won’t permanently do the job the way that, say, a medical or religious reason might (see nos. 1 and 4), but it’s effective in a pinch. If you have finals coming up or an important presentation or project, then you can turn to your administration to help save you. As with the other options on this list, you’ll need to have documentation, so you can’t just fabricate a story on the fly, but you can make it work for you.
7. Use Reverse Psychology.
People who actually want to be on jury duty tend to freak out lawyers, who help in the culling process. In an article for Business Insider, jury consultant Marshall Hennington explains: “Those are the jurors you have to be very, very mindful of because they could severely damage your case … One of the signs is that they want on the panel badly. They smile a lot, they make good eye contact with you, and they give you all the politically correct information.” So, if nothing else is working for you, embrace the opportunity, make out with it, and hope she rebuffs you.
No matter which method you end up using, make sure that you show up to the jury selection proceedings until you’re dismissed. Avoiding the summons could place you in contempt of court as it did with one stay-at-home dad, who called in his reason — childcare — and then forgot to show up until he was dragged in on charges. The 7 tips we’ve just given you for how to get out of jury duty will help, but it’s still up to you to communicate and know what’s expected from you. What methods have worked for you?