Jury duty — it’s the punchline to a joke and an unenviable task that many Americans dread. But at the same time, it’s also a central pillar of our justice system, and it plays a vital role in ensuring that the rights of the accused, the plaintiff, and the defendant are protected. 

Each party deserves a fair trial, and having a jury of their peers — everyday men and women just like you — is critical to ensuring these rights are protected. 

However, there are some cases where spending time on jury duty is simply not possible for those called. Learn more about how it’s possible to get out of jury duty and what kind of justifying documentation you will need to bring before the court.

Permanent Exemptions and Excuses

Florida law allows an exemption for people for whom serving on a jury would cause extreme hardship

This can include:

  • Anyone 70 years old or older
  • Anyone who has active care and custody of a child (or children) under ten years old whose health would be jeopardized by their caregiver serving on a jury
  • Essential caregivers for infirm or elderly persons
  • Anyone who has served on a federal jury or petit jury in the last two years
  • Anyone who is a volunteer firefighter or member of a rescue squad or ambulance
  • Those with arrest powers not stated under Section 7.04 of the Plan for Qualification and Selection of Grand and Petit Jurors

All of these individuals are qualified for a permanent exemption and should bring relevant proof documents to the judge, such as a valid ID, employment contract, or notice of recent federal jury service. 

Caregivers should bring a statement from the doctor of the person they care for, stating that they are essential to the care of an incapable individual.

Based on an exemption granted by the federal government, these other individuals are barred from jury service:

  • Active armed forces members
  • Government police or fire department employees or members
  • U.S. government-appointed public officers (including state or local governments) who are currently engaged in public duties

Again, you will have to present substantiating documents to the court to prove your permanent exemption.

Non-Permanent Ways to Get Out of Jury Service

There are other times when you may not be required to serve on a jury. 

Some breastfeeding mothers may be granted an exemption, especially if the baby is very young. Women who have just given birth or those on bed rest due to a high-risk pregnancy may be granted a medical exemption.

Other people who have chronic illnesses or are mostly home-bound or bed-bound may also petition for undue hardship because of their illness. Judges will evaluate each individual on a case-by-case basis and will likely ask you to provide supporting documents from your treating physician.

Unfortunately, for many people with demanding jobs, having to work is not usually a reason to be excused from jury duty. In fact, your employer cannot penalize you for serving on a jury — federal law provides job protection for jurors.

Jury Duty Is an Important Civic Duty

Serving on a jury may seem tedious, but it’s one of the ways our country ensures that the rights of both parties in a court case are protected. 

Both parties deserve to present their case to a fair and impartial jury of their peers, and by fulfilling your jury summons, you’re doing your part to ensure that our judicial system works.

Contact the Clearwater Personal Injury Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Clearwater. We have four convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.

We serve throughout Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, Pasco County, and its surrounding areas:

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 787-2500

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
(727) 591-5610

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
(813) 686-7588

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655
(727) 815-8442