It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has everyone on edge. From traveling restrictions to workplace precautions, it seems like just about everything has changed since the pandemic hit the world. One of the most common inquiries we’ve been getting is how to get out of jury duty due to the pandemic.
So, while serving on a jury is a legal obligation and getting completely excused generally isn’t possible, jury duty can often be deferred if the timing isn’t right.
Well, before we discuss how to get out of jury duty during Coronavirus, it’s worth pointing out that most courts have stringent protocols in ensuring the health and safety of all participants in the judicial process so it is safe to serve during Covid.
The protocols typically include things like wearing masks, socially distancing, and providing hand sanitizer.
So, if you’re worried about contracting the coronavirus from attending jury duty, know that courts are taking every precaution to ensure everyone’s safety.
But just in case you have reasons to be extra cautious and aren’t willing to take any risks, here are some ways to defer during coronavirus:
– Check with your local court for any postponements
– Request a postponement
– Request to be excused
Do remember that you should have a good reason for why you cannot serve on a jury during this time. Be honest and direct with the court when making your request.
With that said, let’s get into how to get out of jury duty during coronavirus.
Check with Your Local Court for any Postponements
Since the coronavirus pandemic is a worldwide issue, many courts have postponed all non-essential proceedings, so your trial may have already been delayed.
The best way to find out is to check the website or call the court where your case is being tried. If your trial is still scheduled, move on to the next step.
Request a Postponement
If your trial is still scheduled and you’re not comfortable attending, your next best option is to request a postponement. You can do this by contacting the court and asking to speak to the jury commissioner.
When you call, be sure to have your jury summons number handy, as well as the date of your trial.
The jury commissioner will be able to tell you if a postponement is possible and how long it will be.
Keep in mind that many courts are backlogged with requests, so your request may not be granted right away.
But if you have a valid reason for why you need a postponement, there’s a good chance it will be approved.
Some of the authorized excuses include:
– Waiting for test results
– Caring for a sick family member
– Being immunocompromised
– Recent travel
– Exhibiting symptoms of the virus
If your excuse is approved, the court will typically reschedule your trial for a later date.
But if you’re not comfortable with attending a later date or don’t think you’ll be available, then there’s one more thing left.
Request to Be Excused
You can also try to get excused from jury duty by contacting the court and requesting a letter excusing you from service.
Keep in mind that this is typically your last resort, as courts are reluctant to excuse jurors unless there is a valid reason.
Some of the reasons you may be able to get excused include:
– Being over 70 years old
– Serving on another jury
– Having a serious medical condition
– Being the primary caregiver for a dependent
– Recently moved out of state
-Not being proficient enough with English
Again, these are just some examples – be sure to check with your local court to see if they have any other authorized excuses.
Hopefully, one of these methods will work for you and you’ll be able to get out of jury duty during coronavirus. But if not, just remember that serving on a jury is an important civic duty and you should do your best to fulfill it. The experience is extremely rewarding and well worth any inconvenience.
Must I Show Up In Person For Jury Duty?
If you’ve been called for jury duty, you may be wondering if you have to show up in person.
The answer to this question depends on the state you live in, as well as the court where your case is being tried.
Some courts are allowing jurors to participate via video conference, while others are requiring them to show up in person.
If you’re not sure what the requirements are for your court, the best thing to do is to check the website or call the court directly.
And if you’re still not comfortable with attending in person, you can try one of the methods mentioned above to get out of jury duty during coronavirus.
Must I Be Vaccinated To Serve On A Jury?
Another question you may have is whether or not you have to be vaccinated to serve on a jury.
Well, again, this depends on the state you live in. Some states are requiring all jurors to be vaccinated, while others are only requiring certain groups of people to be vaccinated.
For example, California recently passed a law that requires all jurors to be vaccinated against the flu. But other states, like New York, don’t have any vaccination requirements. So it’s important to check with your state to see what the requirements are.
If you’re not vaccinated and don’t want to be, you may be able to get excused from jury duty by contacting the court. Additionally, the judge may refuse to allow unvaccinated individuals to serve.
What If I Just Don’t Show Up For Jury Duty?
If you’re really not interested in serving on a jury, you may be tempted to just not show up. But this is a bad idea for several reasons.
It’s Against The Law
First of all, it’s against the law to not show up for jury duty. You could be fined or even arrested for doing this. The fine could range anywhere from $100 to $1,000.
And if you’re arrested, you could be facing up to six months in jail. So it’s definitely not worth the risk.
It Will Hurt Your Reputation
Secondly, not showing up for jury duty will hurt your reputation. If you’re ever called again, the court is going to remember that you didn’t show up the first time.
And if you’re ever in need of a favor from the court – like getting a speeding ticket dismissed – they’re going to be less likely to help you out. Naturally, this is less of a concern in a larger jurisdiction.
Jury duty is an important civic duty that everyone should fulfill. But sometimes, you need a deferement. If you’ve been called for jury duty during coronavirus and you’re not comfortable serving, there are a few methods you can try to be excused at least temporarily. Just be sure to check with your local court to see what the requirements are.