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How useful can positive character references be in trying to mitigate a charge?

Minneapolis, MN |

In trying to mitigate a misdemeanor to a petty misdemeanor or trying to receive a "stay of adjudication" (I believe that is the right term) for the charge, how useful will positive character references be showing that this incident is all a misunderstanding? Are there certain references that would be more useful. For example, I have a good family friend who is a senior police officer who knows I am of good character. I also volunteer a lot of my time at church and at various NPO's. I have no prior criminal record, not even something as small as a parking ticket. Are there certain people that would be better for giving references than others. For example, I would get a letter from my pastor, but that seems somewhat cliche - everyone can get a letter from a pastor!

I will also be in touch with a highly recommended attorney very shortly (tomorrow) to discuss such things further - I am simply trying to set my mind at ease right now.

Attorney Answers 3


Character references could be highly useful when attempting to mitigate a charge. A lot of it really depends on the prosecutor, as he/she is the one who has the power to reduce the charge. Some prosecutors may give your references more weight than others; however, I'm from the school of thought that if it can't hurt your case, then you should use it to try to benefit the case. The worse thing that happens is the prosecutor doesn't give the references much harm, no foul.

Of course, the actual evidence (strengths and/or weaknesses), as well as the charge against you, will also play a factor in your chances at receiving either a reduced charge or a stay of adjudication.

It appears that you plan on meeting with an attorney, which is a good thing. Although you are able to represent yourself, it is never advised.

I wish you the best of luck, and I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving,

Andrew Leone
Leone Legal, PA
PO Box 70
Chanhassen, MN 55317

612-356-2529 (call or text)

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Generally letters of support can slightly helpful, but it is important to come up with a stronger defense than that. A clean record is valuable. In the past I have had much success in helping people charged with their first misdemeanor, keep their record clean. See links below for more.

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Character references have VERY LITTLE impact on a prosecutor's des cision to offer a plea deal in most instrances. They canbe used if ythere is a conviction and if a Judge is considering a sentence.

When negotiating a plea, it is critical to know the elements required for a conviction and whether there is evidence that can be effectively challenged. Additionally, issues such as haveing a clean record is hghelpful. You should always hire experience legal counsel ins such matters.

For a consultation call 612.240.8005. i have more than 20 years of legal experience.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this email message creates an attorney client relationship absent a retainer agreement with this office. Any response to email inquiries should be considered general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. You should always consult a lawyer in your state regarding your specific legal matter. Visit online at

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