How to Write a DUI Character Reference?

How to Write a DUI Character Reference for Court – When it comes to attending court on a drink-driving matter it is often common practice to tender a well written character reference to show the Court what other people think of defendant.


Why Get A Good Character Reference For Your DUI Case?

A well written character reference can hold a significant degree of weight in providing the Court and the presiding Magistrate or Judge an insight into the person that you actually are outside of the particular court proceedings.

The old saying that a judge has never read a bad character reference often rings true and for this reason a degree of thought and strategy needs to be given to the particular character reference that you decided to tender to the court as a part of your overall case.

Benefits Of A Great Drink Driving Character Reference?

Benefits of a Good DUI Lawyer

Day in and day out on most matters the Courts will see all different types of character references ranging from really poorly written letters right through to strong character references written by prominent people within the community.

For the most part a poor to average character reference will usually be tendered before the Court on behalf of the defendant and as such it will not hold that much weight in Court in support of your overall case. However, on the flip side if you can obtain a very well written character reference undertaken by someone who holds a very good standing within the community and who has had significant prior dealings with you then this can often be evidence that can lead a Magistrate or Judge into dealing with you in a more lenient way.

So ultimately if you are seeking to put the strongest case possible before the Court in support of your otherwise good character then obtaining a very strong and well written character reference by someone of good standing can be the tipping point for the Magistrate to give you a better result than otherwise expected.

Obviously a well written character reference is just one aspect of preparing a great drink-driving case to present before the court. There are many aspects to preparing a great case however a strong character reference should be given plenty of consideration and should be one aspect of forming part of your court case.

What Elements Should A Great Drink Driving Character Reference Contain?

There are a number of elements to be considered in creating or obtaining a great drink-driving character reference. While some of these elements may be quite straightforward and in some cases go without saying it is still important to get the basic elements down right because Magistrates and Judges see on a daily basis character references tendered before them that do not involved some of the most basic elements of what a well written character reference should contain.

We will then going to discuss some of the more strategic elements which should be considered in the creation of a great drink-driving character reference.

Basic Elements To Preparing A Good Drink Driving Character References For Court

To begin with you needs to ensure that you have the basic elements of a good character reference right before you consider anything. Some of these basic elements include:

  • It might or might not go without saying however all character references tendered before the Magistrate needs to be computer typed and printed out.
  • The reference should contain the name, contact details and original written  signature of the person providing the statement to the Court.
  • It’s is much preferable that the original copy is handed up as opposed to a photocopy or scanned version – an original always looks more authentic.
  • It is generally very unusual for a Magistrate to require a referee to come to Court to validate the character reference that has been tendered to the Court. But the end of the day these personal contact details reveal that the referee is making themselves readily available to be contacted by the Court in order to confirm or validate the statements made in the character reference.
  • A great reference should no drag on with irrelevant and unneeded information – the character reference needs to be to the point and concise, usually containing 1-2 pages. Any more than this unless absolutely needed and some Magistrate can get frustrated by reading too much unnecessary information that doesn’t cut to the chase and relate to specific issues relevant to the issues at hand.
  • On the other hand too short a character reference of 3/4 a page or less would probably be seen to be too insufficient of quality information and material.
  • A balance needs to be struck between not providing enough relevant quality information and providing too much irrelevant unnecessary information. Courts seek to be informed in an efficient manner.
  • Make sure that you address the Magistrate or Judge as “The Presiding Magistrate/Judge”.
  • The person providing the reference should state that they are aware of the specific charges before the Court.
  • Finally, make sure the writing is legible without any grammatical or spelling errors.

Strategic Elements To Preparing A Good DUI Character References For Court

If you want to turn a standard character reference into something that can carry a great deal more weight then more strategic elements need to be considered. Some of these may include:

  • If possible try to ask a person who is wise, intelligent, has an excellent track record in the community and who is willing and able to offer a positive, sincere account of who you are, how they have come to know you and their dealings with you in the past that has impressed them.
  • Wherever possible have the character reference printed on a company or organisation letterhead – this look more professional and it suggests that the person providing the reference wants to back the contents and statements of the character reference up with their name, brand and organisation that they represent. When it comes to providing a strong character reference, this is a significant sign of professionalism and authenticity.
  • The individual giving the character reference ought to never make wild outlandish comments or statements that they are not qualified to make. For example a person ought to never make statements about professional or expert evidence and offer details that must be reserved for a specialist professional, such as medical, psychological or pharmacological evidence. Commenting on a certain types of expert areas simply as an observer and how they have witnessed certain issues have an affect of the defendant may be ok however the referee needs to never cross they line and hold themselves out to be a specialist in something that they are not qualified for.
  • The defensant needs to understand exactly what is said in the character reference tendered to the Court since the Magistrate can typically quiz the offender about certain statements which have been made in the reference, for that reason it is prudent to have your very own copy of the character reference with you when you go to Court.
  • It is important that the character reference is open and honest since Magistrates and Judges are the best nullshit detectors around.
  • If the referee can attest to the defendants good character by highlighting specific examples then this is always encouraged.
  • The referee should also highlight any significant impact that they are aware of that any potential sentence may adversely have in the defendant.
  • However, the writer of the character reference should never tell the Court what particular punishment or sentence if any that they deserve. This is unqualified opinion which usually doesn’t go down well with Magistrates and Judges.
  • Finally just ensure that the reference is as professional and as well written as possible.

Ensure Your Court Character Reference Has A Purpose

purpose of a dui character reference

We would generally recommend, if possible, obtaining 2 to 4 character references depending on the severity of the case.

Rather than just obtaining character references from just any old friend of person that you have had dealings with in the past. You should try to obtain character references that are written in a way that provides a specific insight into a certain aspect of the defendants life.

Professional Character Reference

professional court character reference

If you are able to obtain a professional character reference from either your employer or a business associate on business letterhead then this can provide the Court with a good insight into the defendants working abilities, skills and career.

A good professional work reference can also provide good evidence as to why the defendant may need to continue driving for the purpose of carrying out their work duties.

Personal Character Reference 

 Personal Friends Character Reference

Most people who have to go to Court on a drink driving offence will not have any problems in obtaining a character reference from a family member or close friend who is close to them.

The purpose behind getting a court character reference or letter of support from a family member or close friend is that they can provide the Court with a unique insight as to the type of person the defendant is from more of a personal point of view including any background, struggles or issues that should be brought to the Courts attention.

Social or Community Character Reference

 community character reference for court

If you are involved with any sought of community organisation, association or club such as a sports club or church or charity then this can be a great place to obtain a character reference from.

If you are able to approach someone within the organisation to provide you with a good quality character reference attesting to your good character and involvement in the organisation then this can certainly hold a significant level of weight in how the Court will see you.

By showing to the Court that you provide some value and involvement into community this can certain give the Court an insight into the type of person you are and good character that you usually exude.

Drink Driving Court Reference Wrap Up

So as you can see from the various issues we have gone through above there is a difference between a poor to average character reference and a good quality, well written character reference by a person who is able to provide a specific insight or purpose behind the reference.

As we have mentioned a good quality character reference can really hold a lot of weight in the overall presentation of a drink driving offenders Court case. It’s obviously only one aspect of the overall case but as outlined it can be an important part of your case to have in order. It can also be the tipping point between getting a certain level of leniency for your Court sentence.

If you are seeking professional advice and representation in preparing your Court case and having it professionally presented before Court please feel free to contact our office for a FREE 1st Phone Consult call.

Speak to our DUI Lawyers Ph: 1300 941 900

Our DUI Lawyers can be contacted at:

Boorman Lawyers NSW & QLD Solicitors

Sydney NSW 2000
Bundall QLD 4217
1300 941 900
How to write a DUI reference for Court was written by Josh Boorman a Drink Driving Lawyer.