Character References: What To Do And What Not To Do?

March 28, 2023    criminaldefencelawyersperthwa
Character References: What To Do And What Not To Do?

A character reference is a note or letter that validates the great character of an individual tangled in a legal process. It’s inscribed by the person who knows the suspect well and is eager to swear for her/him.

When writing down a character reference for court proceedings, one should take care of the content and tone of the reference. It’s vital to keep the reference specific and clear to enable the judge, registrar or magistrate to consider the references properly.

Depending on the legal proceedings, the content and style of the character references will differ greatly. Since, this means the character reference for small road traffic offences differs from a serious criminal offence.

Writing The Character Reference: Do’s And Don’ts

When one has decided to write a character reference for court, there are some things they must include and must “NOT” include. These are:

The Do’s

  • One first needs to introduce his/herself and mention their qualification and occupation.
  • The letter should address the “Presiding Magistrate” of the court where the legal proceeding is being heard.
  • The letter must contain all the charges. The magistrate must know that the arbitrator is well aware of the content on which the reference has been provided. This means that the things said by him/her about the suspect are reliable and have plenty of meaning.
  • One should create a character reference that’s on point and direct. The magistrate doesn’t have time to allocate all legal matters. That’s why one should make the reference character short, clear and meaningful.
  • He/she should mention the volunteer work or community service they have undertaken.
  • A character reference should contain things that are true, and it should include all the references to the suspect’s rehabilitation or remorse.
  • The character reference must be dated and signed by the individual making all the statements about the suspect.
  • It’s crucial for one to show that he/she is well aware of all the offences the suspect has been charged for. If the suspect already spoke to him/her about the charges, it can help greatly. One must state how the accused feels about the charges, whether or not they attended the counselling or opted for treatment, etc.
  • The writer should also state their opinion on the accused’s character. This means he/she should state if the accused conducted any type of charity work or any special achievement.

The Don’ts’

According to experienced defence lawyers, there are certain things one must not include when creating a Character Reference. These are:

  • The letter must not include information that the arbitrator does not know of.
  • It should not be disrespectful or informal towards the police, magistrate or prosecution in any manner. The letter must not contain any swear or slang words.
  • The “Character Reference” should not be misleading or dishonest. For example, if the accused have a criminal history, he/she should not state in the letter that the present offences are out of character. Doing so will make the court consider that the reference is unreliable.
  • He/she should not comment on the accused person’s innocence or guilt.
  • One must not make any suggestion on the “penalty” which he/she believes the accused individual to get. Since, it’s also not advisable to argue against all the charges faced by the accused person.
  • Since, there is no need to delve into one’s personal history with the accused person.

Writing A Character Reference: How To Do It?

The professional and skilled criminal lawyer Perth says that writing a “Character Reference” is not that difficult.

One doesn’t have to follow a set of rules to create the reference, but there are some general guidelines that do apply. Here are some points that he/she must follow to write a Character Reference:

1. Utilize a Letterhead

Individuals must utilize letterheads. When a person has their official letterhead because they operate a business or work at the organization, they can place the reference on the letterhead if they are allowed to do so. However, letterheads provide courts with a proper understanding of the writer, who he/she is and what position they hold in the community.

2. Get the Letter Typed

Typing the letter instead of writing it will make it easier for the court to understand and read without much difficulty.

3. Address the Character Reference to the Correct Person

The writer must address the letter to the right person. Since, it will inform the judge or the magistrate that the writer knows it’s not a general reference and is pointed towards the court directly.

When the legal matter occurs at the “Magistrate’s Court”, the letter should be addressed to the “Sentencing Magistrate”. But if it’s at the district court, the letter should be addressed to the “Sentencing Judge”.

Other references towards the judge or magistrate must read “Your Lordship” or “Your Honor”.

4. Facts on the Offence

One must state that he/she is aware of all the charges and also the facts on the offence. But this should not point towards specific allegations. One can state something like this:

I am aware that Mr./Ms XYZ is charged for breaking the traffic rules“. The judge will then know that the writer has knowledge about the reference and what it’s for. No need to tender a reference that doesn’t do this.

5. Mentioning Similar Offences

If the suspect or accused individual has a similar type of offence, the writer should state that he/she is aware of it. However, the writer must also state if the accused person has taken any steps to lessen the chances of the offence taking place and whether.

If the writer believes that the offence was an incident that might take place again, then he/she should mention it in the reference.

Final Thoughts

Character references must contain reliable and correct information about the person and their address. The writer is to mention all the necessary information about the person, including their relationship, the person’s offence, etc.

Therefore, it’s crucial to gain some knowledge on how to write such a reference from the criminal defence lawyer. They can provide some unique advice, tips and ideas on how to properly write the letter without making any errors. associate with solicitors from Criminal Defence Lawyers Perth WA for the best support.

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