Can You Get Out of Jury Duty for Religious Reasons

Request Jury Duty Exemption Can You Get Out of Jury Duty for Religious Reasons

Can You Get Out of Jury Duty for Religious Reasons?

Jury duty is a central part of the U.S. justice system, ensuring that each accused person is judged by people who might understand the circumstances of the crime. A jury of peers ensures that one person cannot decide the fate of another based on bias or misunderstanding and that 12 people must simultaneously agree on the outcome of a trial for it to be considered fair. This is also why it's important that jury duty pays very little.

However, many religions speak against judging others or taking a direct hand in distributing legal punishments. You may have strong religious feelings about the case or feel that, spiritually, you are not an authority over the actions of others. Can you be excused from jury duty for religious reasons? It depends on your reasons and on the judgment of the local court.

What Is Jury Duty?

Jury duty is when 12 people hear a trial and decide the outcome. The trial may be criminal or civil, but the jury is usually deciding for or against a defendant based on extensively explored circumstances. Jurors must prepare by wearing business-casual attire and make themselves available during daytime hours for days, weeks, or months - depending on the length of the trial. Most jurors are paid a small stipend, but not enough to cover a day's wages.

Getting out of jury duty requires you to request an exemption, usually by written letter, proving that you are unable to perform the task at the date or location indicated.

Common Common Grounds for Requesting an Excusal From Jury Duty

The most common exemptions from jury duty relate to availability. If you cannot make yourself available on certain dates - with proof of your required absence - then the court will usually provide an excusal or a postponement of your current jury duty summons.

Military DutyFinancial or Scheduling Hardship
Full-Time StudentPolice Officer
FirefighterBreastfeeding Mother
Medical DisabilityExtreme Old Age

Jury Duty Disqualifications

You must also meet certain absolute requirements to serve on a jury. Failing any of these requirements also qualifies as an excusal and can be submitted in a jury duty excusal request letter.

18 Years or OlderUS Citizen
Not convicted of or currently charged with a felonyLive in the county you were summoned for
Proficient in EnglishNo disqualifying mental or physical conditions

Can You Request Excuse From Jury Duty for Religious Reasons?

Can you get out of jury duty for religious reasons? Yes, but not necessarily. The fact is that in the US, religious reasons are not generally considered an excusable factor for jury duty. The reasoning is that people of all faiths can and should serve as jurors to provide a fair and balanced jury selection - and that people of a strong moral background make good jurors.

However, having a very strongly held belief can disqualify you - or have you removed during jury selection - which is similar but not quite the same as jury duty excusal.

The answer is that you can request to be excused from jury duty for religious reasons, but it might not be granted. Even if your excusal request is denied, you have a chance to be removed from the jury later based on strongly held beliefs. But that, too, is not a guarantee.

Jury Duty Laws by State

OklahomaOregonWisconsin
IndianaMichiganVirginia
ColoradoNew JerseyTennessee
South CarolinaAlaskaSouth Dakota
MassachusettsUtahWyoming
MarylandNorth CarolinaPennsylvania
AlabamaNevadaOhio
MaineNebraskaNew Hampshire
Rhode IslandDelawareMontana
New York StateWashington StateDistrict of Columbia
HawaiiNew MexicoMississippi
KentuckyArkansasMinnesota
West VirginiaLouisianaIowa
VermontNorth DakotaMissouri
KansasIdahoConnecticut
FloridaTexasCalifornia
IllinoisGeorgiaArizona

How to Request To Be Excused From Jury Duty for Religious Reasons

  1. Research the jury excuse request process for your state and county
  • What forms do you need to send along with your excuse request letter? (Example: first sheet of your jury summons form)
  • Address to send your excuse request letter
  • Specific laws regarding jury excuse for personal beliefs
  • Types of proof that may be accepted.
  1. Draft an excuse letter
  • Specify your jury summons
  • Explain your religious beliefs and why they warrant an excusal
  • Ask to be excused from jury duty for these reasons
  • Use extremely respectful language
  1. Attach documents of proof
  • Letter from your church leader
  • Quotes from religious texts regarding jury duty or sitting in judgment
  • Records of previous religious jury excusal in your state/county
  1. Send your excuse letter to the court
  2. Wait for a response or rejection

What Happens if I Don’t Show Up for Jury Duty?

Failing to appear for jury duty without being excused is a dangerous choice to make. You can face civil and/or criminal charges. You will usually be fined for failure to appear. You will also likely face a rescheduling of your jury duty so that skipping once is not a way out.

Applying for a Religious Exemption From Jury Duty With the Help Of DoNotPay

Jury duty can be a troubling issue for people with strong religious beliefs. You may be able to get out of jury duty for religious reasons, but the likelihood varies based on your arguments and the state/county you live in. DoNotPay can help you find the best reasoning to support your request to be excused based on your beliefs and the exact laws of your local courts. 

From there, through the Jury Duty product,  DoNotPay can draft the jury duty excuse letter and mail it - with all the right documents - on your behalf to your local court. If you can be excused for religious reasons, DoNotPay is your best bet to draft a letter that will be approved for your excusal based on your religious beliefs.

How to File a Jury Duty Excuse Request Using DoNotPay:

If you want to file a jury duty excuse request but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in easy steps:

  1. Search Jury Duty Excuse on DoNotPay, and enter your jury duty summons information, including the assigned date, court name, juror number, and more.

     

  2. Select your reason for excusal, and provide a few more details regarding your situation and upload evidence to prove your point.

     

  3. Enter the fax number or mailing address for the courtroom as displayed on your jury summons letter.

     

Why Use DoNotPay to Request a Religious Excuse From Jury Duty

Getting jury duty exemption based on religious beliefs is a tricky subject. Many religious people do serve on juries, and some do so after their request for exemption is rejected. As an online legal service, DoNotPay can give you the best chance to see your excuse request approved. If your religious beliefs would stop you from serving on a jury, DoNotPay will help you frame those beliefs as a strong legal argument for excusal and draft a professional letter of request on your behalf.

We can do this for any court in any state or county in the US.

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DoNotPay is focused on making your life easier through a number of helpful online services. From legal support to handling customer service hassles, we're here to save you money and headaches in a dozen little ways. Here are just a few of DoNotPay’s other products that you might find useful this year.

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