Writing A Character Reference for Court
Character Reference Letter Examples

   Writing A Character Reference for Court

Writing A Character Reference for Court

If you are asked to write a character reference letter to a court, the circumstances probably aren't the best. You likely know someone who is facing jail time, and who wants a judge to see character references so that the punishment might be less severe.

This is obviously an important task, and one you won't want to take lightly. Essentially, writing this type of letter successfully comes down to three things:

  1. Be positive. Highlight anything positive about the individual, and explain why you think this should lead to a lesser sentence, or no sentence at all.
  1. Be personal. Remind the court that the subject of your letter is a person. If the subject has a family, mention that. Be specific, and give children or spouse's names, if applicable. The more human the subject appears, the easier it is for a court to consider leniency.
  1. Be proactive. Explain to the court that you are willing to help the subject in any way you can. This may mean providing a job upon release (or in lieu of punishment), providing a place to live, or just generally being around for the subject should he/she need help. A court wants to hear that the person will have a support system and/or supervision if he/she is not in prison, and you can provide the court with reassurance on this matter.

If you are simply writing to vouch for the subject character, and do not have the ability to provide any support for the subject, that's okay, too. Simply write about what you know about the subject, and why you believe he/she will be able to bounce back from this transgression and be a valuable member of society.

This is an important matter, and it's okay if you need to get personal. In fact, it's preferred. The court will appreciate passion and concern for the subject, since it means that someone "on the outside" is looking out for him/her.

Index of Character Reference Letter Examples