April 3, 2023 | Personal Injury
For most people, the thought of jury duty is not a pleasant one. You get paid a minimum amount of money and may have to spend hours waiting and listening to court testimony. This might not seem like much incentive to take you away from your daily responsibilities and family. However, is it possible to get out of jury duty in Oklahoma? We explain below.
What To Do If You Receive a Jury Summons in Oklahoma
A jury summons is a document stating that you have been called for jury service. A court clerk prepares the summons and mails them out to prospective jurors. This notice does not mean that you will necessarily have to serve on a jury. However, it does mean that you must respond to the summons.
You will need to respond to the summons in one of the following ways:
- Appear at the designated court at the time and date listed in the summons
- Send in documentation that explains why you cannot serve on the jury
You should not assume that your excuse is accepted. If you don’t receive written notification that you have been excused from jury duty, you should still show up at court on the day and time listed on the notice.
The Oklahoma Bar Association warns that if you do not report when you are required to, you can face contempt charges. You might have to pay a fine and/or perform community service for the length of time of the trial you would have served.
The Role of the Jury System
Juries serve an important function in this country. The Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by jury in most cases. Being a juror makes a person part of the judicial system, allowing them to make important decisions, including in criminal and civil cases.
Juries decide issues of fact in civil cases. In criminal cases, jurors decide if the prosecution has proven the defendant’s guilt by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It is often considered a civic duty to serve on a jury.
Where Do Lists of Prospective Jurors Come From?
Some people think that juror lists come from voter registration records. This makes sense because those who want to vote may be more likely to appreciate civic duty. However, this is not the case in Oklahoma.
According to Oklahoma County, lists of potential jurors are made from lists of licensed drivers or people with a current state identification number.
How To Get Out of Jury Duty in Oklahoma
There are only a few reasons why someone would get out of jury duty in Oklahoma, which may include:
You Don’t Qualify
Some individuals do not qualify to be a juror, including:
- Law enforcement officers or jailers with custody of prisoners (only in criminal cases)
- Sheriffs or deputy sheriffs
- Judges of the Court of Appeals, the District Court, or the Court of Criminal Appeals
- Justices of the Supreme Court
- Legislators during the current session
- Licensed attorneys actively practicing law
- People convicted of a felony or who were previously imprisoned for the commission of a felony
You Have Recently Served
Jurors who have served within five years can ask to be excused for this reason, though they technically qualify to serve as a juror.
You Are Exempt from Jury Service
You can be considered exempt from service if you are any of the following:
- A breastfeeding mother
- A person with a mental or physical disability you can prove
- A member of the armed forces on active duty in a time of war or declared hostilities
You can also be excused from jury service if you are over 70 years old.
Serving Would Pose an Undue Hardship
Another reason why you may be excused from service is if serving would pose an undue hardship. In this situation, you would need to explain why jury service would represent an undue hardship for you and submit documentation to the court. However, the court can choose to simply postpone your service to a later date.
Contact an Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyer for Legal Help Today
If you have questions or need legal assistance, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Oklahoma City, OK.
We serve throughout Oklahoma and its surrounding areas: