Serving on a jury is not always convenient. A trial could last for a few days or a few weeks. Therefore, many people want to get out of jury duty in Los Angeles and throughout California.
But ultimately, it is our civic duty to serve on jury duty. Our judicial system is founded on fair and impartial trials by a jury of our peers.
That’s why the law requires people to serve on jury duty when they are chosen to do so. Failing to appear for jury duty could result in penalties. However, there are some ways you can get out of jury duty in Los Angeles.
What Are the Qualifications for Jury Duty in California?
You must meet specific criteria to be eligible for jury duty. California law requires jurors to:
- Be a United States citizen
- Live in the county for the court that sent you a jury summons
- Be at least 18 years old
- Understand the English language sufficiently to understand and discuss the case
- Not be currently serving on a grand jury or another trial jury
- Have not served on a jury during the past year
- Not be under a conservatorship
- Have your civil rights restored after a conviction for a felony criminal offense or malfeasance while holding public office
Some individuals with a felony conviction on their criminal record may still qualify for jury service. You should check with the clerk of court if you are unsure whether you qualify for jury duty if you have a past felony on your record.
It is important to note that you cannot be disqualified for jury duty because of your:
- National origin
- Economic status
- Sexual orientation
Even though you meet the above qualifications, you might still be able to get out of jury duty. How to avoid jury duty in California? You can avoid it if the court excuses you from jury service or postpones your service.
How To Get Out of Jury Duty in California – Being Excused from Jury Duty in Los Angeles
People often ask attorneys how to avoid jury duty. Getting out of jury duty requires you to be excused.
The court may excuse you from jury service if you have an undue hardship that prevents you from serving on a jury. Reasons for jury duty excuses in Los Angeles include, but are not limited to:
- You have a physical or mental impairment
- Lack of transportation
- Jury service would create an extreme financial burden
- The courthouse is an excessive distance from your home
- You provide care for a dependent, and you cannot afford to pay someone to provide care while you serve on a jury
- Jurors over 70 years old can be excused for a medical condition without a doctor’s note
When you reply to the jury summons, you must note that you request an excuse from jury duty. All requests for excuses from jury duty must be in writing.
An excuse might not prevent the judge from requiring you to appear in court to answer questions about your reason for an excuse from jury duty.
In some cases, the judge may grant a postponement of jury service. You must request the postponement. It is a good idea to submit your request as soon as possible because the court can only grant a certain number of requests to maintain a minimum number of jurors on the panel.
What Happens if I Do Not Appear for Jury Duty in Los Angeles?
The judge might not take any action against you for the first failure to appear for jury duty. The court may issue a second summons assigning you a new date to appear for jury service.
However, the court can issue an Order to Show Cause for Contempt of Court for failing to appear for jury service pursuant to a jury summons. The court holds a hearing to allow you to explain why you did not appear for jury service.
If you fail to appear in court or do not have a reasonable excuse for failing to show up for jury duty, the judge can issue penalties. California law permits judges to impose a fine, jail, or both. The code sets monetary sanctions at a maximum of $250 for the first violation, $750 for the second violation, and $1,500 for a third violation.
What Is the Role of a Jury in a Personal Injury Trial?
The jurors must decide the facts of the case and apply those facts to the law. They determine whether the defendant is at fault for the plaintiff’s injuries. If they decide the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s damages, the jurors determine an amount the defendant should pay the plaintiff for damages.
Unlike criminal trials, the decision in a civil trial for a personal injury case does not need to be unanimous. Three-fourths of the jurors must agree to render a verdict. The plaintiff has the burden of proof in a personal injury trial.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.