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Here’s the easiest way to put it: Character letters in a Colorado criminal case can have a positive impact on the legal outcome of your case. 

The goal of a character letter is to show support for a defendant in a criminal case, with the hopes of swaying the opinion of the judge and/or jury.

Who will write a character letter for your Colorado criminal case?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, as character letters can come from a variety of people in your life. Most commonly, this includes:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Co-workers
  • People from your community

Note: During the sentencing phase of a Colorado criminal defense case, a judge will only allow so many people to testify to a defendant’s character. However, they don’t typically place a limit on the number of character letters you can submit. So take advantage of working with an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney who can help you collect character letters that will work in your favor.

Do character letters always work in a Colorado criminal case?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. This depends on many factors, such as who writes the letters, what they say, and of course, the severity of your crime. 

For example, if a case is in negotiations, a solid group of character letters can help obtain the best possible plea offer. 

Or when a judge has to make a sentencing decision, they’ll definitely review character letters to better understand your background. This has the potential to impact the Colorado judge’s final decision. 

Tip: It’s good practice to begin collecting character letters as soon as possible. Your Denver criminal attorney can provide you with guidance on when to collect letters and who you should ask first. Generally, it’s best to ask for character letters from people who aren’t in your family, such as a supervisor at work or a charity where you volunteered your time.

What an effective character letter includes

Person giving a character letter to someone for their Colorado criminal case.
It’s better to ask for character letters from people who are in close contact with you such as a current co-worker or boss.

 

There’s no right or wrong way for a person to write a character letter, but some approaches are definitely better than others.

There are four general details that an effective character letter includes:

  1. A clear relationship: Character letters should only be written by people who actually know you. Try to get letters from people with whom you currently have a relationship. For example, a character letter from your current boss or a co-worker is better than a character letter from an old high school or grade school teacher.
  2. A story: It doesn’t have to be a long story, just long enough to show the court that you’re a good person. This can be as simple as a letter that outlines your dedication to community service. 
  3. Stick to the personal relationship: You don’t have control over what a person says in a character letter, but it’s best that they stick to sharing details of your relationship, with a focus on your personal character. This is in contrast to saying things such as “he would never commit that type of crime” or “she really deserves a second chance.”
  4. Check with your lawyer: Before a character letter is submitted to the Colorado court, it’s best for your Denver criminal defense attorney to review it in great detail. All letters should pass through your attorney on the way to the court. 

Along with the above, there’s one last thing to remember: While character letters are helpful, they’re not a guarantee of the outcome of your criminal case. Just because you have a large number of these doesn’t mean the judge and/or jury will take it easy on you. 

Don’t expect your character letters to immediately result in your Colorado criminal case being dismissed. Instead, you should simply hope that these letters effectively show that you have a good character. This can often lead to less serious penalties, such as a shorter time in prison or the opportunity to serve out your sentence at home.

Are you confused by character letters? Let our Denver criminal attorney help

Depending on the severity of your crime, it may be hard to wrap your head around the idea that character letters can have a positive impact on your case. However, these letters can be powerful, so you don’t want to pass them over and simply hope for the best. 

Even if you don’t think anyone will provide you with a character letter, sit down and really think about who in your life would be willing to do this. You may be surprised as your list begins to grow.

With the right Denver criminal defense attorney on your side, along with character letters to back you up, you’re in a better position to avoid the most serious punishment for your crime. Contact the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC online today or give us a call to schedule your free consultation.

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Character letters can persuade the judge that you are a good person and can lead to a lesser punishment in your Colorado criminal case.

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