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Is It Possible To Get Out of Jury Duty in Houston, TX?

Is It Possible To Get Out of Jury Duty in Houston, TX?

Suppose that you have just received a notice in the mail to appear for jury duty in Houston. If your first reaction is to look up “How to get out of jury duty,” you are not alone. A recent informal poll conducted by the National Judicial College found that the majority of trial judges in the United States have seen an uptick in the number of individuals ignoring jury notices in recent years.

Jury service is an essential civic duty that ensures civil and criminal courts can function and cases can get resolved. It can also be inconvenient, especially if jury duty coincides with a vacation or other important event. Because some employers do not pay their employees for jury duty, serving on a jury can present financial difficulties as well.

Getting Out of Jury Duty the Right Way

Whatever your reason for wanting to get out of serving on a jury, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Failing to show up or respond to your jury summons is not how to avoid jury duty. A jury summons is not an invitation but rather a court order, and not appearing in response to a summons can be punished by the court by imprisonment or a fine.

If you want to know how to get out of jury duty without facing the prospect of jail or financial penalties, follow these steps:

Have a Valid Reason To Be Excused

First, recognize that a court will not automatically excuse you from jury duty just because it is inconvenient. However, if jury service would impose an unusual hardship on you, the court may consider excusing you from having to appear. Examples of unusual hardships include:

  • You have a necessary surgery or procedure that you cannot reschedule
  • You are the only caretaker for a child or dependent who needs constant care
  • You have a vacation planned, and your tickets are non-refundable
  • You have a medical condition, such as an injury, that prevents you from leaving your home

The court may recognize other reasons as valid for excusing you from jury duty. The more unique the situation and the more hardship it imposes on you, the more sympathetic the court will likely be to your situation.

Contact the Court Early

If you believe you have a valid reason to be excused from your summons, the next step in getting out of jury duty is to communicate that reason to the court. Do not simply ignore your jury summons and expect to be able to tell your situation to the court at a later date. 

The sooner you reach out to the court about why you should be excused from service, the greater the likelihood that your request will be granted.

Provide Any Documentation Requested by the Court

Expect that the court will want to verify the reason you are requesting to be excused from jury service. Be prepared to provide documentation for any surgery or medical procedure you have scheduled. Similarly, if you are asking to be excused because of nonrefundable travel plans, be prepared to provide proof of your travel arrangements to the court promptly.

Treat Jury Duty as a Serious Obligation

The worst way to respond to a jury summons is to blow it off and ignore the notice. Although serving on a jury is an important civic obligation, the court recognizes that there are reasons why you might not be able to serve. Communicating those valid reasons early with the court is key to having your request approved and being excused from having to appear for jury service.  

Undefeated Houston Personal Injury Lawyers

For more information, please contact our Undefeated personal injury lawyers at Zehl & Associates to schedule a free consultation today. We have two convenient locations in Houston and Midland.

Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers – Houston
2700 Post Oak Blvd #1000, Houston, TX 77056
(888) 603-3636

Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers – Midland
306 W Wall St Suite 701, Midland, TX 79701
(432) 220-0000