How to Defer Jury Duty

By Legal Editor

It's virtually impossible to "get out" of jury duty, but if you have a good excuse, you can sometimes defer service until a later date.

Check the date you are to report for jury duty as soon as your jury summons arrives.

Refer to your calendar to see if there is a reason you might not be able to serve on that date. Are you getting married, having a baby or taking a non-refundable expensive vacation?

Consider other situations that may be reasonable excuses for deferring jury duty. Would serving be a financial hardship? Are you the primary caretaker for someone at home? Or, you may have recently served jury duty and think the summons is a mistake.

Call the court (the number should be on the summons) and give your reason. Be sure to have an alternate date of availability when you call. If you're not excused over the phone, you must appear on the date specified on your summons.

Appear in court as directed. Again state your reason for wanting a deferral when the opportunity arises for jurors to make such a request.

Be cooperative and polite no matter what happens. Being demanding or acting outraged will not help - and may hurt - your cause.

If you are excused, expect to receive another jury summons when your stated availability date comes up.