How To Legally Get Out of Jury Duty in Missouri

Serving as a member of a jury always sounds really “cool” when you’re younger, but when you become an adult and are actually eligible to serve jury duty in Missouri, it doesn’t sound that awesome anymore, for the most part. However, before you go and miss jury duty just because you don’t want to do it, you should be aware that there are a number of ways that you can be excused from jury duty without facing legal consequences or needing to hire a criminal defense attorney in Missouri to defend you. (And no, none of them include lying and saying you know the judge).

old fashioned jury photo

Continue reading to learn about who is eligible for jury duty in Missouri and the legal ways that you can avoid spending months of your life serving on a jury.

{Missed jury duty already? We can help.}

Missouri’s Jury Duty Eligibility Requirements

When a person goes on trial for a crime, the American court system guarantees them the right to representation in the form of a public defender or criminal defense attorney as well as, the right to a trial by a “jury of their peers”. In the state of Missouri, potential, eligible jurors are selected at random.

To serve as a member of a jury in Missouri, prospective jurors must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States.
  • Be at least 21 years of age.
  • Be a resident of the city or county that is issuing the summons.
  • Be able to read, speak, and understand English.
  • Must not be mentally or physically ill or infirmed.
  • Must have had their civil rights resorted if previously convicted of a felony. 

How To Get Out Of Jury Duty

It’s no secret that jury duty disrupts your day to day life and while every situation is different, there may be times that jury duty isn’t right for you. Here are some legal ways, from the Missouri Courts that people can avoid serving jury duty*

  • Any person who has served on a jury in the last two years.
  • Nursing mothers (at her request and with a written signature from her physician that she is indeed, a nursing mother).
  • Healthcare professionals. For this excusal, the licensed health care worker would need a written statement saying that he or she is providing health care to patients, and that jury duty would be detrimental to the patients. 
  • Any employee of a religious group or institute whose religious obligations would prohibit them from serving on a jury. 
  • A person whose absence from their regular job would adversely affect public safety, health welfare, or interest. However, rarely are firefighters or police officers excused from jury duty for this reason. 
  • A disabled person.
  • A convicted felon.
  • Active military

*This information should not be used as legal advice, but simply as general information. If you have any questions or concerns about getting out of jury duty without facing legal repercussions, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Missouri Legal before your summons date. 

To be legally excused from jury duty for any of the above reasons, your appeal must be filed in a timely manner. For instance, it’s not wise to just not show up for jury summons and then send in an appeal after the fact or the same day. Send in your appeal as soon as possible so as not to avoid any legal issues. If you don’t qualify for the above exemptions but believe that jury duty would cause you hardship, you can still submit a jury duty excuse letter, according to Jury Duty 101. Your request will be determined by the court and they have the ability to accept or deny your excuse. 

Additionally, if you would like to serve jury duty, but are unable to do so at the appointed times and dates, you can make a request for a postponement of jury duty. Learn more about the postponement request process here. 

If you have already missed your jury duty summons and are nervous about future legal consequences call Missouri Legal today. Our criminal defense attorneys in Springfield are equipped to provide you with legal representation to get you out of this mess.