A character reference letter is written by a person to define the character of a person that they know for years or a certain time period. Basically, a person writes the character reference letter for court defining the character of an individual to get the judge an idea about the character of the individual. The judge would have no idea about the character of an individual who has broken a law or done any crime. A character reference letter becomes quite significant if the case is about custody of the child and the judge needs to know the character of the parents. It is extremely important for the author to write in the letter what is true. Being honest when writing the character reference letter is extremely important for the author.
Things to Consider Before Writing the Character Reference Letter
There are various things, which are important before writing the character reference letter for court such as:
- When writing the character reference letter for court, it is important to include the name of the author.
- When writing the character reference letter it is important to indicate the relationship of the author with the person for whom the character is to be defined.
- It is important to give the judge an idea about the character of the defendant.
- It is important to highlight the positive points about the character of the defendant.
- It is important to highlight the time duration for which the author knows the person.
- It is important to mention if the author feels that the defendant is not guilty and should highlight the points, which can show that he or she had been a great person in the past. However, if the defendant is guilty of example, if he or she has committed a crime while drunk then mentioning details like he or she would be admitted to a rehabilitation program is important. However, it is very important to consider here that the author should actually believe in this and would then write the details when it comes directly from the honest heart.
- The defendant lawyer can be of great assistance in this aspect as the lawyer would be better able to guide as in what to include in the letter. If the person is unable to follow the format, there are numerous samples, which are available online and it would be easier to follow any one of them.
- It is not necessary that the author use the legal jargon as they can write the letter in simple words as well.
Sample Character Reference Letter for Court
Given below is a brief sample character reference letter for the court:
City, State, and Zip Code
(Insert Date here)
The Honorable Judge (Insert First Name and Last Name here)
City, State, and Zip Code
(Insert Information about who you are here for example) My name is XYZ and I am a teacher by profession. I teach XYZ subject at ABC College. (Insert relationship with the defendant here for example) I have known (Insert name, address, and occupation of the defendant here) for five (or six, seven etc.) years. We were in the same building.
(Insert knowledge about defendant charges here) I know that (defendant’s name) has pleaded guilty for DUI, but I have known him or her for five years and have never once seen him or her drinking. (Insert Knowledge about person’s life here) He or she has been going through financial stress and there is a lot of problem in his or her personal life due to which he or she would have been drinking for just once. I know for a fact that he or she would never do it if there had been no financial crisis and issues in the family life.
(Insert opinion about the character of the person here) It is surely an event, which has happened for the last time in (defendant’s name) life as I am quite certain that he or she hates alcohol and would never go near it. She or he has always been a vegetarian and had never in their life tried anything like that.
(Insert name here)
Character Reference Letter for Court Examples
How to write the Character Reference Letter for Court
In order to write the character reference letter for court, the following steps can be vital:
The tone of the Character Reference Letter
The tone of the character reference letter should be formal; however, the author writing the letter should explain his or honest feelings about the defendant, for example, if the case is about child custody then it would be wise to include few sentences like, this person has been a responsible parent since the birth of the child. They had given up their career for a certain time period for taking care of the child and when the kid started the school only this person considered taking a job back to support the family income. It was not easy to be a homemaker all these years but this person has managed everything quite well. A lot could be included in the letter depending upon the character of the defendant.
Character Reference Letter Contents
Who you are: Mention name, job, and qualifications to give the judge an idea about who is writing the letter and what they do. For example, the author could be a teacher and would have a master’s degree in English literature.
Relationship to the Person: In this section, it is important to mention the relationship with the defendant. For example, the author can be a friend of the defendant or he or she can be a family member who would have known the defendant for years.
Knowledge about the charges on Defendant: At this point the author should include answer to the questions like whether the defendant had talked to them about the scenario before going to the court, if they had been guilty, did they feel sorry on the matter, their overall feeling on the matter, had the defendant been upset and have considered counseling, have they considered paying any damage or have paid the damage to the victim, was there any impact on the reputation of the defendant, have they suffered or faced any loss, is there any disgrace they have been feeling in the community to which he or she belongs, and a lot more depending on the case of the defendant and whether he or she has been guilty.
Knowledge about the Personal life of Defendant: If the defendant had been going through some personal issues and the author has an idea about it then would be wise to mention it in the letter. Whether they had been taking any drugs or alcohol because of being extremely upset, they had been abused, or anything, which triggers them or any idea about the financial situation or stresses the defendant has been going through.
The character of the defendant: It would be wise to mention the knowledge and personal opinion of the character of the defendant. It would be wise to include their personal achievements in life and how successful or qualified the defendant has been and how the character of the defendant has created a positive impact on the life of numerous people.
Formatting the Letter: In order to format the character reference letter, include a date at the very top of the letter, write the relevant address, start with “Your Honor,” and in the end sign the reference
Things to avoid when writing the Character Reference Letter
When writing the character reference letter, it would be wise to avoid the following things:
- The author should not write anything, which they do not mean. It is important to be honest while writing the letter.
- Each and every word of the letter should be true and the author should keep in mind that they might appear before the judge as the character witness.
- It is wise not to claim in the letter that the defendant is or is not guilty. Especially if the author writes that the defendant is not guilty and he or she has already pleaded guilty. Therefore, it would be wise to discuss the matter with the defendant’s lawyer before writing the final letter.
When should you send the Character Reference Letter for Court
It is important to send the character reference letter before the court hearing. The defendant lawyer would be able to get an idea about the character of the defendant as well. The lawyer would be able to decide whether or not to include that particular letter in the court.