Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys / Former Prosecutors
Call 801-449-1409 now for help protecting your rights.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

Finding a Felony Defense LawyerChoosing a Misdemeanor Defense LawyerDrug and Alcohol Crimes Defense LawyerWhite Collar Defense Attorney for Utah ChargesAttorney for Expungements Reductions and PardonsDefendant Constitutional Rights Criminal LawyerBail and Bond Alternatives in UtahReasons for Hope Facing Criminal Charges


Character Reference Letters

Using Character Reference Letters in Utah Criminal Defense Cases

Character reference letters can play an important role in both negotiating a resolution with a prosecutor in a criminal case and/or presenting the case to a judge at a sentencing hearing. Not every case will benefit from character reference letters. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you determine what strategy is most appropriate for your case. But in cases that may benefit from such letters, they should be presented first to your defense attorney to review before anything is submitted to the prosecutor or to the judge. Your attorney can help ensure that the letters are presented in a way and at a time that will be most beneficial to your case.

NOTE: The information on this page is premised on the idea that a person is working toward a negotiated resolution or preparing for a sentencing hearing. A person intending to take their case to trial may need to use very different techniques or strategies. Further, this information is general in nature and should not be treated as legal advice. If you are facing criminal charges, there are many variables that can affect what strategy may be best in defending your case. Consultation with an attorney is STRONGLY advised before beginning efforts to clear your record. NO INCRIMINATING INFORMATION SHOULD BE PRESENTED TO THE COURT OR PROSECUTOR WITHOUT FIRST CONSULTING AN ATTORNEY AND CONSIDERING THE POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES OF DOING SO. Contact us today to see what the right criminal defense attorney can do for you.

Tips for Getting Good Letters

Character reference letters can help give a judge or prosecutor a better idea of who you are as a person and help them to see you as more than just a case number. The facts or events leading up to the filing of a criminal charge will never provide a complete picture of who you are. Obtaining letters from people who know you in a variety of contexts can help the judge or prosecutor see the various sides of you and your life. Examples of potential writers can include close friends, therapists, community leaders, religious leaders, employers, co-workers, and family members (parents, spouse, siblings, or adult children). Talk with your attorney about your specific case and who might be able to provide the best letters for you.

You may want to consider obtaining letters from people who already know about your pending criminal case. If no one knows about your criminal charge, you DO NOT have to start telling them now. But if there are individuals who are aware of your case and can still speak favorably of your character and actions, letters from these individuals can sometimes be the most persuasive. Writers generally should not discuss any of the facts of the case - that typically involves issues that are better addressed directly through the court. Again, it is important to talk with your attorney before submitting anything to the court or to the prosecutor.

Letters from people who know your criminal case should focus on positive things you have done and positive character traits they have observed - things that help to demonstrate that the events or acts involved in the criminal case do not represent your overall nature or character. or you have developed in the years since the criminal case began. Any mention of your criminal record should be no more than one or two sentences. The goal of these letters is to provide a picture of who you have become and to persuade the court that you deserve to have your record cleared.

If you request letters from people who are not aware of your criminal case, you can ask for a general character reference letter addressed “To Whom it May Concern.” The letter does not need to be addressed to the court and does not need to make any reference to any criminal case.

What to Put in a Letter - The Basics

There is no script or formula for a good criminal defense character reference letter. The following bullet points are intended only as an outline of some ideas for writers to consider as they prepare their letters.
  • Who is writing?
  • How do they know you (including what context and how long)?
  • What is their impression of your character as a person generally?
  • Are they aware of your pending criminal case, and if so, is there anything they have observed about your conduct or character that gives them reason to conclude that there are no ongoing related issues, or that any related issues are being appropriately addressed?
  • Are there specific positive activities, accomplishments, or involvements they are aware of that demonstrate good character or that demonstrate a commitment to fully addressing any related issues?
  • (Remember that a character reference letter is not a place to debate the merits or strength of the prosecutor’s case or to complain about police conduct.)

This information is general in nature and should not be treated as legal advice. Always consult with your attorney before taking any actions that could negatively affect the outcome of your case. Each criminal case is unique, and what works well in one case may not be beneficial in another case.

Finding a Criminal Attorney to Clear Your Record

Utah Criminal Defense LawyerIf you are facing criminal prosecution in Utah, having an experienced criminal attorney can be critical. Each case is unique, and requires individual attention, analysis, and care to develop a defense strategy designed to get the best results possible. Contact us today to see the difference the right defense attorney can make for you.how we can help you.


Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
Name: Email: Phone: Describe your legal needs here:
I accept the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this form. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be submitted through this form. By clicking 'submit' I am only requesting that I be contacted for the purpose of obtaining legal services.

This form protected by reCAPTCHA.

  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense Trial AttorneyNot Guilty - Client was charged with aggravated assault for alleged attack using broken bottle as a weapon. Despite the testimony of numerous prosecution witnesses, thorough defense investigation to support a self-defense claim resulted in acquittal by jury at trial.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony drug distribution charge and potential life in prison. Charges were based on allegations that client had sold drugs to an undercover police officer, then made a full confession. Successful mitigation work resulted in negotiated offer of misdemeanor plea-in-abeyance and ultimate dismissal of case.
  • 402 Reduction Lawyer Utah 2-Step Reduction - Client needed a two-step reduction to bring a prior conviction to the misdemeanor level. Collection of substantial evidence of reform and rehabilitation convinced a normally reluctant prosecutor to stipulate to the defense 402 reduction motion.
  • Utah Burglary Defense Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with second-degree felony residential burglary and facing potential prison time. Investigation by the defense revealed multiple witnesses, missed by police and prosecutors, who supported client's claim of innocence. At trial, the jury returned a "not guilty" verdict on all charges.
  • Recent Posts
  • What to Do When Arrested for DUI What should I do if I am arrested for DUI? - Many DUI cases begin as minor traffic stops. But the consequences of a DUI conviction are much more serious than an ordinary traffic citation. If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, you have specific important constitutional and statutory rights that can protect your. . . .
  • Utah Misdemeanor Attorney Salt Lake Can I handle a Utah misdemeanor from out-of-state? - Even if you do not intend to take your case to trial, a misdemeanor criminal offense in Utah can require multiple court appearances to reach a resolution. If you have been charged with a crime in Utah, but are not a Utah resident, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you resolve the case without returning to the state. . . .
Best Criminal Defense Strategy

You want the best defense. Agressive is good. But results ultimately are what really matter. Creating an effective strategy for defending against criminal prosecution requires a thorough understanding of statutes, case law, and evidentiary and procedural rules. A successful outcome is more likely when....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Defending against a criminal prosecution in Utah is a job that has to be done right the first time. Choosing the right attorney to defend you can be the most important decision you make. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling some of the most serious felony and misdemeanor charges on the books in Utah. No matter what charges you are facing, we can help....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

A Utah criminal prosecution can result in a lifetime of consequences. Beyond jail and prison, a conviction can affect many areas of life, including employment, housing, finances, family, and much more. Never plead guilty without first consulting with an experienced criminal attorney. Understanding what is at stake is the first step....

Consequences »
Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah - Reasons to Hope

Clients sometimes ask what the "worst case scenario" is for their charges. We prefer to take a more positive approach. Facing criminal prosecution in Utah can have serious consequences. But you can take steps and make choices right now that will improve your chances of a positive outcome. Let us help you....

Reasons to Hope »
Home | Attorney Profile | Case Results | Criminal Code | FAQ | Legal Resources | Defense Strategy | Contact Us

Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.