Each state has its own guidelines regarding what is a legitimate excuse for jury duty. Federal courts have different guidelines for exemption than state courts. Given these facts, the best way to be excused from jury duty starts with reading the jury service notice you received.
Look for any acceptable exemptions listed on the notice of service. The instructions may be to write a letter to the court explaining how you qualify for one of its exemptions. Some courts may require that their own legal form be completed.
Exemption from Federal Court Cases
Federal court exemptions from jury duty are:
1) Those in active duty in the armed forces
2) People employed as police officers or firefighters
3) Public officials
Exemption from State Court Cases
Keep in mind that each state court has its own unique qualifications for exemption from jury duty. These are just some common examples.
1) Breastfeeding mothers
2) People over a certain age such as 70 or 80
3) Medical issues
4) Work-related issues
6) Financial issues
7) Family issues
Writing the Jury Duty Excuse Letter
Remember that a request to be excused from jury duty is up to the courts. Your request may be approved or denied. Each request is considered on a case-by-case basis. The courts will notify you by mail or by telephone regarding its decision.
If your request is work-related, explain how jury duty will disrupt the workplace. Perhaps you are employed by a small business or are self-employed.
If you are the sole caretaker of a seriously or chronically ill relative and can provide proof from a doctor, your request to be excused from jury duty may be honored.
Jury duty often does not pay as much as a person earns at their job. If serving on a jury will put you or your family in financial risk, explain this to the courts in detail.
If you have your own medical condition that requires treatment throughout the day using equipment that cannot be taken to court, your request to be excused may be approved. Your doctor will need to provide documentation to support your claim.
In summary, the best way to write a jury excuse letter is to detail how you would suffer hardship related to jury duty and to relate the hardship to one of the exemptions.