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Excuses You Can Give to Avoid Jury Duty in Los Angeles

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: March 25, 2024

Getting selected for jury duty often evokes mixed reactions from people. For some, it is their chance to be part of the country’s judicial process, a chance to right a wrong, and a chance to play a role in putting the guilty behind bars.

For some, jury duty is either

  1. Boring
  2. Inconvenient
  3. Unnecessary time off work

Mind you, the reasons listed above are valid reasons. But some people go through jury duty simply because they don’t have any valid reasons to offer. Another reason jury duty receives hate is because of the length of court hearings in California. Hearings can go on for several days and jurors must return home after each hearing. The fact that there were 4.4 million cases filed between 2020 and 2021 in California only adds to the plight of the jurors. 

Many websites on the internet, like, educate you about the judicial system in detail. But very few sources come up with ways to avoid jury duty. This article changes that.

Before you come up with an excuse for jury duty, you first need to know whether you’re qualified for one. According to California law, you can be a juror if you meet the following requirements:

  1. You are a U.S. citizen
  2. You are at least 18 years old
  3. You are a resident of the country you’re asked to serve as a juror for
  4. You haven’t been on jury duty in the last 12 months
  5. You understand English enough to understand and discuss the case details
  6. You are not under conservatorship
  7. You have not been to prison or jail
  8. You are not on post-release community supervision, parole, mandated supervision for the conviction of a felony, or felony probation
  9. You are not required to register as a sex offender
  10. You were convicted of wrongdoing while holding public office, and your civil rights haven’t been returned to you

Note: Based on Senate Bill 310, as of January 1, 2020, some individuals with criminal histories can serve as jurors.

Now that you know whether you’re qualified for jury duty, let’s look at the excuses you can use to avoid it.

  1. You have no means of transportation
  2. The distance between the courthouse and your place of residence is too long
  3. Physical or mental disabilities
  4. You have a dependent who relies on you for care, and you cannot leave them alone
  5. Financial/Business/Employment constraints
  6. Prior jury service
  7. Emergency personnel

You have no means of transportation

This is a valid reason to make. If you don’t own a vehicle or can’t afford transportation and have been called for jury duty, then you can use that as a reason to skip jury duty.

The distance between the courthouse and your residence is too long

This is related to the previous excuse. You can simply state that the commute between the courthouse and your residence is a long one (80 miles or more) and that you find it extremely difficult to travel long distances regularly.

Physical or mental disabilities

If you’re currently undergoing therapy, you can state that you aren’t in the right frame of mind to make important judgments.

Also, citizens with physical disabilities are given an exception, provided they support their statements with sufficient evidence. (like a doctor’s advice or medical statements.)

You have a dependent who relies on you for care, and you cannot leave them alone

Multiple individuals fall under the category of dependents. Some of them are

  1. An elderly parent
  2. A child
  3. A family member who’s recovering from an injury and needs help with day-to-day activities
  4. A disabled family member

Citizens can state that they need to be available at all times to care for another person, and accepting jury duty would interfere with this responsibility. You need to provide the following as evidence:

  1. Your work arrangements
  2. The type of care you provide
  3. The ages of the person(s) you care for

Financial/Business/Employment constraints

Being unable to attend jury duty due to work-related commitments is a valid reason. If you’re a small business owner, you can also state that attending jury duty means closing your business during court hearings, leading to a loss of income. Citizens who mention this reason must submit a form for approval.

Prior jury service

If you have already served as a juror in the last 12 months, you could use that as an excuse. You’ll need to submit proof of your jury duty either via fax or email.

This excuse isn’t valid if you were part of the jury selection process and weren’t selected.

Emergency Personnel

If you work for a public agency as a member of a rescue squad, a firefighter, a part of the ambulance crew, or any other public service, you can be excused from jury duty. You’ll have to submit proof of your service for the excuse to be validated.

Those were some of the legally allowed excuses a citizen can make to avoid jury duty. Since jury duty is the responsibility of every Californian citizen, you’ll need to provide evidence for an excuse. As inconvenient as it can be, it pays to serve as a juror at least once, to do your part as a responsible citizen of society.

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.
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