Sometimes, no matter how good your criminal defence lawyer is, you end up with a finding of guilt or a plea of guilt and a sentencing hearing is required. Sentencing in Ottawa is a very important part of your case and should not be treated as an afterthought.
Building a Strong Sentencing Case: The Importance of Reference Letters
Where sentencing is likely or possible, our criminal defence lawyers will work with you to help build a strong case for a lenient sentence. A key component of the sentencing package is reference letters.
We work with our clients to devise a list of people who can provide personal letters of reference on your behalf. Typically these letters come from members of your community, religious institution, employer, neighbors, teachers or anyone else who is prepared to tell the court that you are a person of integrity who should be sentenced lightly. Note that we would never contact anyone for a reference letter without your express consent and instructions.
Generally, the letters of support set out the following:
- who the writer is in terms of occupation and family status-a description of the writer’s connection to the accused person-the fact that the writer is aware of the charges;
- and a description of a number of the accused person’s positive personal attributes (such as hard-working, honest, reliable worker, etc.).
The letter should include the writer’s contact information.
A package of supportive letters from people of good reputation in the community can go a long way to assisting your Ottawa criminal lawyers in making strong submissions on sentence.