Strong character reference letters can help your criminal case

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2022 | Federal Criminal Charges |

Tennessee residents who are facing white-collar crime charges have plenty of concerns. Avoiding prison time is often a defendant’s biggest goal.

If you are charged with a white-collar crime, there may be available defenses, depending on your situation. However, sometimes the better criminal defense strategy is to negotiate a good plea deal.

After you plead to your charges, the next step is your sentencing hearing.

Common sentencing factors

Judges take many different factors into consideration when determining an appropriate sentence, such as the nature of the crime, whether you have committed prior crimes and if you expressed remorse.

Another factor is character letters. Anyone, including your family, friends, former employers or professional associates can write a character letter on your behalf.

What a character letter can do

The purpose of a character letter is to encourage the judge to impose a lesser sentence upon you, perhaps even one that avoids jail or prison time altogether.

People who write character letters for you should be people who have known you for a long time. Their letter should state their relationship to you and how long they have known you.

They may want to include information about specific things you have done or worked on together. The point is to let the judge know that they are someone who knows you very well.

What to include in a character letter

The author of the letter can then state reasons why they believe a certain type of sentence is best. They can talk about obstacles you have overcome, either in childhood or as an adult, or additional mitigation factors that should be considered.

For example, if you were struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues when you committed the crimes, a character letter could mention these facts.

What not to include in a character letter

One thing a character letter should not do is try to prove your innocence or relitigate your entire criminal case. The point is to acknowledge the fact that a crime was committed why a reduced or lighter sentence is right for the situation.