By default, every citizen who has not been barred from jury duty must serve on a jury when the state calls upon them to do so. The state identifies jurors from voter registration records, driver’s license records, and many other methods.
If Minnesota selects you as a juror, it will send you a summons obligating you to show up in court on jury selection day. However, you may be able to utilize an exemption to disqualify you from serving on jury duty. This blog post will fill you in on the specifics.
Qualifications You Must Meet to Serve on a Jury
You cannot serve on a Minnesota jury if:
- You have committed a felony, lost your civil rights as a consequence, and the state has not yet restored your right to sit on a jury.
- You are not a citizen of the US (permanent residents, known as “green card” holders, cannot serve on a jury, for example).
- You are not a resident of the county for which you were summoned;
- You are a minor (under 18 years old);
- You cannot communicate effectively in English; or
- You are not physically or mentally capable of undertaking your duties as a juror (see the disability exemption below).
Failing to qualify as a juror is probably the most effective “exemption” from jury duty in Minnesota.
First things first. You cannot win an excuse from jury duty simply because you are employed unless you qualify for the limited hardship exception described below. Fortunately, it is against the law for your employer to penalize you for performing your jury duty. You can attempt to avoid or postpone jury duty based on the below-listed exemptions.
The Age Exemption
You can skip jury duty if you are at least 70 years old. Please note that although age is an excuse, it does not bar you from service. If you still want to serve on a Minnesota jury despite your age, you still can unless you suffer a disqualifying disability.
The Disability Exemption
You can skip jury duty if you have a disability that prevents you from offering satisfactory service. You must submit a signed doctor’s note confirming the extent of your disability.
The Student Exemption
Student status does not completely exempt you from jury duty. Rather, it is a limited exemption. If you are scheduled for jury duty during the school year, you can ask for a postponement until your next school break. That way you won’t have to miss any classes.
The Hardship Exemption
The hardship excuse is a limited exemption. You can take a one-time postponement of jury duty if serving would cause you hardship because of employment, vacation, or family business.
You can request a hardship exemption online, by mailing back your request with the jury duty summons you received, or by calling the contact number on your summons.
The miscellaneous hardship exemption
Serving on a jury might cause you a hardship that is not listed above. If so, you can try to gain a miscellaneous hardship exemption by submitting an excuse letter in response to your jury duty summons. The court will grant or deny your request at its own discretion. Even if the court grants your exemption, it might grant you a postponement instead of a full exemption.
Jury Selection Day
If you receive a summons to serve on a jury, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll end up serving on one. It only means you have to show up in court on jury selection day (which could cost you some time). The jury selection process, known as voir dire, is a competitive process, and the parties’ lawyers will eliminate many candidates.
Chances are pretty good that you will be one of the people they will eliminate. A lawyer might eliminate you in a car accident or truck accident case, for example, if you have ever suffered an injury caused by a drunken driver.
Don’t Try To Cheat Your Way Out of Jury Duty
Attempting to cheat your way out of jury duty with a fake excuse is against the law. Don’t even try it; doing so could result in unpleasant legal consequences. If you really need to get out of jury duty but don’t have an obvious excuse, talk to a Minnesota lawyer to review your options.
Contact the Minnesota Personal Injury Law Firm of Hall Law Personal Injury Attorneys For Help Today
For more information, please contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Hall Law Personal Injury Attorneys to schedule a free initial consultation today. We have three convenient locations in Minnesota, including Minneapolis, St. Cloud, and Edina.