All About Valid Virginia Jury Duty Exemptions
In Virginia and throughout the United States, citizens have an obligation to serve on a jury if called to do so. Depending upon your circumstances, this can be difficult or even impossible, which is why many people seek Virginia jury duty exemptions to postpone or avoid serving. If you're sick or you have small children at home that can't be left alone, for example, the court will probably agree that you have a good excuse. However, there are many people who simply don't want to be inconvenienced and will try to get out of jury duty, which is why the courts consider exemptions on a case-by-case basis.
If you get called for jury duty while you're struggling with other challenges and responsibilities, don't panic. DoNotPay can help you determine if you qualify for a jury duty exemption in Virginia and even help you file a request to be excused from service.
What Is Jury Duty and How Did I Get Chosen?
Jurors are an essential part of our justice system, and jury duty is a civic obligation that can be fascinating and rewarding if it happens to come at the right time in your life. It's a great opportunity to participate in our democracy and get an up-close-and-personal look at how our justice system works.
However, jurors in Virginia are chosen at random from a list of registered voters, so you never know when your name will come up. Every year, about 55,000 people will receive the juror questionnaire, which will help the courts determine who is eligible. Qualified candidates will be entered into the jury pool for the year, and juries are chosen from that pool. To be qualified, you must be:
- A U.S. citizen
- At least 18 years old
- A resident (of at least one year) of the district or county in which you were summoned
- Able to read, speak, and write in English
- Physically and mentally capable
If you have committed a crime in the past, you may be ineligible to serve.
What if I Don’t Show Up for Jury Duty?
Every state has different penalties for failing to show up for jury duty, which is considered contempt. Those penalties could include fines, jail time, and/or community service. The Code of Virginia Chapter 11, Section 8.01-356 states that refusing jury duty in VA can result in a fine of up to $200.
What Are the Common Jury Duty Exemptions in Virginia?
If you need to know how to get out of jury duty in Virginia, you should understand that the court does not consider inconvenience to be a valid excuse. In fact, they acknowledge that jury duty will disrupt your daily life, but being busy isn't a reason for not fulfilling your duty. If you get chosen, you probably won't know how long the trial will last, so if you're sick, have travel plans, operate a business all by yourself, or are someone's primary caregiver, jury duty could pose a genuine hardship for you. If this is the case, you may qualify for an exemption.
- You're a mariner employed in maritime service
- You're personally responsible for the care of someone with a physical or mental impairment
- You're personally responsible for the care of children under the age 16
- You're a breastfeeding mother
- You're over 70 years old
- Your spouse was summoned to serve on the same jury
- You're the only person performing services for a business that are essential to that business, to the point that the business would have to close or couldn't function if you weren't there
- You're a firefighter, police officer, or a member of the armed forces currently serving outside the U.S.
- You're an elected official or a person employed in certain offices (only under specific circumstances).
You may also be excused if you have a medical condition that prevents you from serving. You must provide proof from your doctor.
What Are the Most Common Reasons for Postponing Jury Duty in Virginia?
While some circumstances will get you excused from jury duty, others will allow you to postpone your service until a more convenient time. These include
- You have a vacation already booked.
- You're temporarily caring for a child or elderly relative who requires your presence.
- You're a full-time student who could do jury duty during summer break.
The judge won't take your word for it: these situations also require proof. You may need to submit a copy of your plane ticket or hotel booking, proof of enrollment at school, a note from a doctor, and more.
Jury Duty Laws By State
How to Request a Jury Duty Exemption or Deferral in Virginia
Depending upon the court, you may have the opportunity to request your exemption on the juror questionnaire. In other cases, you will have to submit a written request accompanied by supporting evidence, which can typically be sent via mail, fax, online, or in-person at the courthouse. It's a good idea to call the number on your summons to talk to someone about your situation, see what your options are, and ensure you're following the correct procedure. The judge will determine if your situation warrants an exemption or postponement.
If your request is denied, you will need to prepare for jury duty. Keep in mind that you will be paid $30 per day to help offset the cost of travel and expenses. You cannot lose your job or be penalized at work in any way for fulfilling your civic duty. You should contact your employer directly about your company's jury duty policy.
The exemption process can be challenging. Because it varies slightly from court to court, you need to make sure you understand the process behind your jury summons. Your excuse should be supported by documented proof, and you'll need to make sure you submit your request on time. It can be stressful as you simultaneously manage the responsibilities that make jury duty a hardship in the first place.
That's where DoNotPay comes in. We will help you determine if you qualify for an exemption in the first place, saving you time and hassle, then we can write and submit your request for you.
How to Get Out of Jury Duty in Virginia With the Help of DoNotPay
Instead of scouring the court website looking for the exemption information you need, turn to DoNotPay as soon as you realize that jury duty will cause you undue hardship. We'll outline all the possible exemptions to see if you qualify, generate an excuse letter using the information you provide, and fax or mail it to the courthouse, along with all supporting documentation that proves you won't be able to serve on the jury. We'll make the best case for you, and you'll be able to relax as you wait to hear back from the court.
If you want to file a jury duty excuse request but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in three easy steps:
- Search Jury Duty Excuse on DoNotPay, and enter your jury duty summons information, including the assigned date, court name, juror number, and more.
- Select your reason for excusal, and provide a few more details regarding your situation and upload evidence to prove your point.
- Enter the fax number or mailing address for the courtroom as displayed on your jury summons letter.
Our Jury Duty Excuse tool works the same way in any state, but helping you get out of jury duty in Virginia or anywhere else is only the beginning of what DoNotPay has to offer.
Why Use DoNotPay to Understand and Apply for Virginia Jury Duty Exemptions?
Simply put, it's fast and easy. We can provide exemption information within seconds, and all you have to do is answer a few questions about your jury summons and your circumstances. We'll compile the information for you and send the letter to the court. That way, you can rest assured the request is professional, thorough, and timely and that it's going to the right place.
DoNotPay is your partner in tackling life's most confusing processes, from getting out of jury duty to just about any other legal or financial crisis you can imagine.
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