Is It Possible To Get Out of Jury Duty in Chicago?

Our nation takes pride in its jury system. Indeed, serving on a jury when the government calls upon you to do so is a civic duty that the government can compel you to perform. 

Sometimes jury service is over in a day (or even a few hours), but in some cases, it takes months. Fortunately, there are several ways to avoid jury service in Chicago.

Do Jurors Get Paid?

Yes, they do. But the amount, $35 per day, is quite low. Additionally, Illinois law does not require your employer to pay you for the time you take off for jury duty. On the bright side, Illinois law does prohibit your employer from firing you or otherwise retaliating against you for serving on a jury. 

Grand Juries

A grand jury is a special kind of jury that determines whether it is appropriate to charge a suspect with a crime. They are typically formed to deal with very complex cases. Service on a grand jury could take months to complete.

How Jury Selection Works

Jury selection, known as voir dire, is a competitive process where the lawyers select the jury. Each lawyer has a limited ability to eliminate any juror who they believe will be biased against their case.

Excuses for Avoiding Jury Service: “Undue Hardship”

You can be excused from jury duty if serving would cause you “undue hardship.” This is a vague term, but it might allow you to avoid jury duty if you are:

  • Entitled to an exemption because you served on a jury within the past year or two;
  • A lactating mother;
  • The primary caregiver of a child under 12, or someone with a serious mental or physical disability, if there is no reasonable alternative care available; 
  • Suffering from a total or permanent disability;
  • Over 70 years old;
  • Subject to severe financial hardship for serving on a jury;
  • Suffering from a medical condition that justifies exemption (and you have a doctor’s note to prove it);
  • On active military duty;
  • A full-time student and serving on a jury would interfere with your studies; or
  • Engaged in an occupation such as police officer, ambulance driver, or other similar role.

You are not automatically excused for any of these reasons. In other words, you can’t simply fail to show up for duty and then claim an exemption later. You have to apply for an exemption in advance.

How To Apply for an Exemption From Jury Duty

If you want to apply for an exemption, follow the instructions printed on the summons that called you to jury duty in the first place. Be sure to comply with any deadlines. If you are not confident that you understand the process, talk to a lawyer or show up at the courthouse in person and ask questions. 

What Happens if You Simply Don’t Show Up for Jury Duty

If you fail to show up for jury duty without obtaining an exemption first, you have committed contempt of court. The court may issue a warrant for your arrest.

Even if the police do not arrest you immediately, you are not necessarily out of the woods. An open arrest warrant could cause you trouble when you least expect it, such as when the police pull you over for a broken tail light three years from now. Don’t risk it.

Do You Need a Lawyer?

If you do need a lawyer, you should be aware that personal injury lawyers do not charge by the “billable hour.” Instead, they charge their legal fees on a contingency fee basis. This means that your legal fees will equal a percentage of the amount of compensation that you win. 

So, you pay nothing up front, nothing ever in attorney’s fees unless you win compensation. You also pay nothing for an initial consultation. 

Contact the Chicago Personal Injury Law Firm of Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys for Help Today

For more information, please contact the experienced Chicago personal injury lawyers at Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys today. We offer free consultations.

We proudly serve Cook County, Will County, Kendall County, and its surrounding areas:

Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys – Chicago Office
10 S La Salle St STE 1230, Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 726-1616

Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys – Joliet Office
195 Springfield Ave, Joliet, IL 60435
(815) 726-1616