In most places, sentences in criminal cases are determined by judges. They look at the cases’ facts and the defendant’s criminal history to determine the sentence when the individual pleads guilty of a crime or a jury finds them guilty of a criminal offence.
One helpful element during such sentencing is the character reference letter for the family court. The character letter is commonly written by people who have spent ample time with the accused to vouch for their character.
That means family members, work colleagues, neighbors, friends, or employers can be asked to provide a character letter when the defendant is on trial. However, writing such a letter can be challenging, especially if you are inexperienced with the criminal justice system.
When a lawyer asks you to write down your honest opinion about the accused, it is advisable to use online templates to make it easy. You can get character reference templates that are customizable, editable, allow signing on the go and can be shared online quickly.
CocoSign is the best platform for such documents since the website hosts a vast library of different kinds of letters of recommendation. The tool is free and helpful in streamlining your document processes.
Read on to find out what a character letter is and how to write one:
What is a Character Reference Letter for the Family Court?
A character reference for the family court is a letter offering an accurate description of the accused when the court has the interest to know who they are in the context of an illegal activity they got charged with.
The document represents an honest and accurate testimony of the moral values and character of the individual standing trial. While it shows the person’s moral qualities, the form doesn’t mean they get entirely forgiven for law-breaking; in some cases, mainly when the accused has no previous criminal records, a character reference can get a reduced sentence.
How to Write a Character Letter for Court?
If you are ever asked to write a character letter, your goal should be to establish your credibility as the defendant’s reference. It would be best to describe the accused person for the judge to understand them beyond the committed offence better while being respectful without undermining the case.
Writing a character reference document for legal court proceedings requires that you bear in mind its content and tone. The reference letter must be clear with specific details as this page tells you for a judge, registrar or magistrate to consider it in light of the particular charges.
Firstly, you need to introduce yourself by stating your details and information, including your occupation and any other qualifications you hold. Make everything formal, and provide your full name and address.
Ensure your relationship with the individual who is the legal proceedings’ subject is well outlined. You will need to summarise how you relate with the defendant, how long you have known them and how often you are in contact. It doesn’t mean you delve into the complete personal history with the person, although having known one another for longer puts more weight on your reference letter.
The other crucial step is acknowledging the charges brought against the accused by showing that you know the defendant’s offence. If you have had a conversation with the person about the accusations, it helps state how they feel and outlining any problems or hardships that could have played a role in the defendant committing the crime. Ensure not to argue against the charges or make direct reference to the fact you believe the person shouldn’t get charged.
Lastly, you will need to state your opinion about the accused person’s general character. In this section of the character reference document, you should portray the person’s reputation in the community. It is advisable to include information favoring the accused, such as their exceptional achievements or charity work. Avoid including false details since you will be lying to the court, which is an offence in itself.
When is One Required to Write a Character Reference Document?
A character reference letter is used for showing support for an accused person in a criminal case. It is a document with the potential to influence the court and impact the ultimate sentencing. Therefore, it is essential to draft one carefully for maximizing its use.
One of the scenarios where you may be asked to create a character reference for the family court is when the jury needs to establish the defendant’s character and morals to determine whether the offence was a mistake or an exception; they are unlikely to repeat since it matters during sentencing.
Good character reference letters come from people close to the defendant for the court to better understand who they are in their everyday lives. That is common in drunk driving accusations or custody trials.
The form plays a critical role in underlining the individual’s moral qualities and mentioning the extent to which a harsh ruling affects their life. Besides, it shows how the defendant’s career and family could suffer from a conviction to lean the balance in the accused favor.
When an accused person’s lawyer requests that you provide them with a character reference for the family court letter, it is good to treat it with attention and seriousness. There is a need to be as honest, transparent and concise as possible.
Character letters are helpful in the reduction of a friend’s sentence; therefore, it is a must that you write it well. One of the best ways to design an efficient document is using court templates available online.
CocoSign’s offers document solutions that are legally binding and very efficient. No matter what forms you need, the platform provides many other practical, straightforward and user-friendly templates for all kinds of documentation.