Hawk Law Group | October 20, 2022 | Personal Injury
Many people dread receiving a jury duty summons in the mail. However, as a U.S. citizen, it’s your duty to serve on a jury if selected.
That said, it’s possible to get out of jury duty for certain reasons. But you could face stiff consequences if you don’t have a valid and acceptable excuse and still choose to ignore your jury duty summons.
What Is Jury Duty?
Jury duty is a civic responsibility requiring U.S. citizens to participate in the judicial system.
Individuals are sent jury summons in the mail and scheduled to appear in court. During a potential juror’s time in court, the judge and attorneys have the opportunity to ask them questions in a process called voir dire (French for “to speak the truth”). This questioning helps them determine a person’s eligibility to be a juror in a particular case.
When a juror is chosen, they’re expected to attend the trial for its entire duration. They’ll hear from both sides and gather information to help them reach a decision at the trial’s end.
Jury duty involves both civil trials, such as cases involving car accidents or slip and falls, and criminal trials. Jurors aren’t typically informed about the case they’ll be serving on until they’ve been selected for duty.
How Are Potential Jurors Chosen?
First, you must be legally eligible to serve on a jury. Eligibility requires the potential juror to:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a resident of the county where they’re expected to perform their duty
- Be proficient enough in English to understand the case and communicate with other jurors
- Have not served on a jury within the last year
- Not currently be serving on a jury in another trial
- Not presently be under a conservatorship
Courts randomly select prospective jurors from a pool of eligible local residents, gathering individuals’ information from DMV and voter registration records.
What to Expect When You Get a Jury Summons
When you get a jury summons in the mail, it will include the information for your jury duty, including the date, time, and location where you’re to report.
On the date in question, you must report to the location listed in your summons at the time indicated. Make sure you take a copy of your summons with you. You’ll sit with fellow prospective jurors as the judge and attorneys ask questions to determine each individual’s eligibility.
If you’re selected, you’ll receive information about the trial and be expected to attend it in its entirety. If selected, your obligations are complete.
Getting Out of Jury Duty
It’s possible to get out of jury duty, but only under certain circumstances, and you may have to submit a request to the court. You might be excused altogether or simply have your date deferred.
Getting Out of Jury Duty in Georgia State Courts
In Georgia, you may be able to have your jury duty deferred if you work in public health or you show good cause.
For example, you might be excused if:
- You’re a full-time student
- You’re a teacher doing home study and don’t have childcare
- You’re the caregiver for a child six or younger without alternative childcare
- You’re 70 or older
- You’re a service member or the spouse of a service member
To avoid potential repercussions, contact the court to determine whether you need to take any action to defer or be excused.
Getting Out of Jury Duty in Federal District Court
If you receive a summons for federal district court, you may be able to get out of jury duty if:
- You’re 70 or older
- You’re the caregiver to a child under ten
- You’re the caregiver of an older individual
- You’re a volunteer firefighter or EMT
- You’ve served on a federal jury within the last two years
- You have a medical condition or disability
You may also be able to defer your jury duty if the date interferes with a prior commitment, such as a vacation, work trip, or medical procedure.
Contact the Personal Injury Lawyers In the Central Savannah River Area at Hawk Law Group for Legal Assistance Today
For more information, please contact the personal injury lawyers at Hawk Law Group at our nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We serve throughout the Central Savannah River Area and it’s surrounding areas:
We also serve in Edgefield County, SC.