What are the Different Jury Duty Exemptions?

Amanda R. Bell

In the U.S., the different types of jury duty exemptions depend on local, state, and federal laws and regulations. Federal law requires that jury duty exemptions be made for certain government employees. State and local governments often offer exemptions for age, full-time students, and family situations. A person may also be exempt from jury duty if he or she has recently served on a jury, committed a felony, is incapable of performing the duties of a juror, or if serving in court will cause an unnecessary hardship.

Active duty members of the military are exempt from jury duty.
Active duty members of the military are exempt from jury duty.

Federal law requires that active duty members of the military, fire fighters, police, and government officials be exempt from jury duty. Military members typically live in a location other than their address of record and are exempt from their civic responsibilities as they are already serving their country. For this same reason, those working for the fire or police department are also afforded jury duty exemptions. Due to the possibility of a conflict of interest and the importance of other jobs in the government, certain officials who work for local, state, or federal government entities are also not required to sit on a jury.

Jury duty is considered a civic responsibility.
Jury duty is considered a civic responsibility.

In most jurisdictions, those over the age of 70 are also allowed to decline a jury duty summons. Persons in this age group have typically already served on a jury or may not be in adequate health to do so. High school students, even if they are 18 years old, are also provided with jury duty exemptions, as are full-time college students.

Public servants, like police officers, may be exempt from jury duty.
Public servants, like police officers, may be exempt from jury duty.

Certain family situations may also provide a person with a jury duty exemption. Typically, parents or guardians of children under the age of 15 are excused from jury duty. This only applies if the adult is unable to find someone to watch the children or if doing so would cause an undue financial strain. Adults who provide primary care for another adult with health issues may also be allowed jury duty exemptions; this does not typically apply to professional caregivers, however.

Most citizens may be asked to serve on a jury once every three years.
Most citizens may be asked to serve on a jury once every three years.

Jury duty exemptions may also be provided to people who have recently served on a jury. In smaller towns and cities, a person who has served in the last two years from their most recent summons is typically exempt. In larger cities, usually with a population over 250,000, this exemption can extend to as long as three years.

People over the age of 70 are often allowed to decline a jury duty summons.
People over the age of 70 are often allowed to decline a jury duty summons.

Anyone who has committed a felony within seven years from his or her most recent summons is automatically exempt from their civic responsibilities. A person with a physical or mental disability that greatly limits his or her ability to perform the duties of a juror is also typically afforded an exemption. While employers are not allowed to fire an employee for missing work due to jury duty, in general they are also not required to pay the employee; if someone can prove that being away from the job causes an extreme hardship, the court may grant either an exemption or deferral of the person's civic responsibilities.

A jury is a group of citizens who are tasked with determining whether an accused party is guilty or not guilty.
A jury is a group of citizens who are tasked with determining whether an accused party is guilty or not guilty.

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