Example Character Letter DUI: This reference of yours might help turn a life around

| November 13, 2012 | 0 Comments

A positive character letter, in a DUI criminal charge, is one of the most important pieces of evidence submitted to a Court.  When a criminal charge is filed against someone, a good DUI character letter at their Court appearance will make a positive impression on the Judge, and may tip the balance in favor of the accused. This person may have been falsely implicated in the crime under investigation, and a letter testifying to good character, honesty and integrity, could be solidly supportive evidence in a Court appearance.

Character reference letters for DUI charges do not necessarily have to be written by somebody ‘important’ or with real social standing in the community.  Anyone can write a character reference letter for court appearances:  a friend, a work colleague, or a neighbor. The main aim of character letters for court appearances is to paint a positive picture of the person and any contributions they may make to their community and to society in general.  These solid and practical sides of a person’s character and personality enable the Judge to take a wider view, rather than judging the person appearing before them only on the basis of the offence filed against them.

There is a required format for a DUI character letter.  Certain points need to be covered, which will help build a strong case to support the defendant if he appears to be of good character.

The criteria for DUI Character Letters – truth and honesty is the key

If the case is set to appear in the Magistrate’s Court, address the letter to “The Sentencing Magistrate”. However, if the defendant’s case is in the “County Court”, it should be addressed to “The Sentencing Judge”. When you address the court correctly, it shows that this letter is not simply a general character reference, but that you are writing a letter designed specifically for the Court.

Use the business letter format – your name, address and contact details on the right-hand margin; the person to whom you are addressing the letter, their address, followed by the date, on the left-hand margin.

Below we have given you an example of a DUI character letter that you can use as a guide:

  • Mention in the subject line, the name of the person for whom you are providing the DUI character letter, together with the offence for which they are in Court, and type this in bold. If the Court has already provided a Case Reference No., this needs to be used, so that it can go straight into the defendant’s file.
  • You next make reference to the charges that the defendant is pleading guilty to having committed. This makes your DUI character letter more credible. It is not simply a general reference, but you are clearly aware of what it is John Adams has done that has brought him before the Court.
  • If this person is accused for the first time of having committed this crime, it would be appropriate for you to say that his actions on this occasion were ‘out of character’. There is no point in taking this line, though, if the defendant has been in court for this same crime more than once.
  • You should state the period you and the defendant have known each other. It will give more weight to your character reference. At the same time describe, as far as you truthfully can, the positive elements of his character.
  • If the accused has taken part in community service activities, such as coaching a youth football team on weekends, make this known, as it adds another positive dimension to his character.  If the charges levied against him will affect his job; or his chances of getting one; or will have a big impact on his personal life;  make mention of this in the letter. Anything that is relevant can be included, if it is true, and will give positive support to the defendant.
  • Alcohol and theft was involved in this crime, so anything you can say that might mitigate the influence of this offence would be helpful.
  • Sign and date your completed letter.  You might also add your phone number so that the Court can verify what you have written.
  • You should hand over your character reference letter before the Hearing date, as this will give time for the lawyers to go through it. They might ask you to add or delete some points.

Through the strength of your DUI character letter, you could be giving someone another chance

This is what your DUI character letter should look like –

Oscar Nevin

10 Park Road


Ontario, WN 9087

Tel. 01-4943578

The Sentencing Judge
Richmond County Court
45 Eden Crescent
Ontario WN5839

12 July 2012

Dear Judge Bailey

Re: John Adams:  Reference 2012/2939:  Damage to Property while under the influence of alcohol 

I understand that John became involved in the Croydon riots last May, and – while under the influence of alcohol – has been convicted of entering a department store and participating in the looting which took place on that weekend of violence last year.

I have been a friend of John and his family for 10 years, and I can state emphatically that this behavior is entirely out of character for John.

His parents, who are both well-educated professionals, were absolutely devastated that he could have been involved in this criminal and anti-social activity. John himself has had an excellent education, and his references from the school that he left last year praised him liberally, both for his academic achievements and his contributions, as a Senior Prefect and Head of the Debating Team, to wider school activities.

Since leaving College, John has been applying for jobs in the retail sector in the area. I know that he has been invited to attend three interviews.  Should he be offered any of these jobs his career would be very satisfactorily launched, and I know he would take his place then as a responsible member of the Community. Should it be known, on the other hand, that he was involved in the Croydon riots, he would have great difficulty in getting a job, particularly in the current economic climate.

John’s parents are very moderate drinkers, so it is certainly not their example that influenced John to drink an excessive amount on that occasion. And they have always provided him with the appropriate sports equipment.  So for John to have stolen a pair of trainers on that occasion makes no sense in the context of his normally healthy and grounded lifestyle. He has also recently taken over the coaching of the 10-year-olds baseball team, and certainly would not dream of giving the youngsters a bad example. 

In the light of John’s perfectly clear record, his friends and family can only hope that Your Honor will see this transgression as simply an example of youthful excess, and give him the kind of penalty that will stabilize him for the future. 

I will be most happy to provide any further details the Court might require.  Please do not hesitate to contact me at the above telephone number or address.


Oscar Nevin

Download this Example Character Letter DUI

More ideas for your character letter DUI

  • I have known him for 15 years.  We were at College together and in the same school sports teams. I can confirm that he is a person of great integrity, is extremely dedicated to his family and work, and is a solid member of our Community.
  •  John has been my next door neighbor for the past ten years.  During this time I have found him to be a kind and trustworthy person.  He is always willing to support myself and other elderly neighbors if he sees that we need to go on a difficult shopping expedition, or require some help with the leaves in Autumn. 

Category: Example Character Letter DUI

About the Author ()

Melanie Walters is a writer and editor for several businesses both online and offline. Her experience with writing business letters and marketing materials has helped her understand exactly what works in written communication for businesses. In the 10 years she's been writing, Melanie has amassed a large collection of letter examples that she gladly shares with you here on Letter Example Help.org

Leave a Reply