If you've been arrested for a crime you didn't commit, you need to defend your legal rights. You have the right to an attorney who can help you present your case. After being wrongly accused of something myself, I learned quickly how to navigate the legal avenues to have my case dismissed. My attorney was a great resource for building the case, and because of my understanding of the law, it worked. I created this site to share what I learned along the way and some other great tips for others who have been wrongly accused and arrested for a crime.
It can be a shock to learn that a loved one has been convicted of a crime. However, you might have a chance to affect how long they remain in prison by submitting a reference letter for them that is read by the sentencing judge. Do the following things if you've been asked to provide such a letter.
Be Honest About Your Own Reputation
One of the reasons you may be asked to craft a letter is that you are especially close to the loved one who has been convicted. You may have unique information about their personality or any changes that they've been making to their lives. However, it is important to note that your personal reputation can have an affect on how the judge reacts to your letter. If you have yourself been recently arrested or have other legal problems that don't seem immediately relevant, be sure to be honest with your loved one's lawyer about why you might be a poor choice to write a reference letter. They may then choose another person to write a letter instead.
Include the Right Information
Every reference letter needs to start with the same basic information. Of course, you will put your own name in the letter and that of your loved one. It is important to tell the judge who you are. Answering the following questions in your letter can help the judge to better understand the dynamics of your relationship with your convicted loved one. Why are you the person writing a letter of reference? Are you a pastor, teacher, or someone in a noteworthy position? Have you known your loved one a long time? Do you also know the other party in the case?
You must also present compelling reasons why a lenient sentence would be appropriate. Has your loved one entered treatment for a substance abuse problem? Have they recently experienced a significant loss that caused their crime? Detailing solid, strong reasons why your loved one deserves some mercy from the court can be helpful.
Finally, express gratitude for being given the opportunity to present your letter to the judge.
Plan for the Worst Case Scenario
It is easy to think that your letter and others will have some influence on the judge in charge of the case, particularly if this is your loved one's first offense. However, once you hand your letter over, you should also begin planning for the worst case scenario. Talk to your loved one's lawyers about the appeals process and start raising money for that purpose. That way, if the sentencing is harsh, you've already started working on the next phase.
Now that you've got more information about a reference letter, take your time as you prepare the letter and your actions afterward. Ask your loved one's criminal defense attorney for as much help as you need during this time.Share
24 May 2016