22 Free Character Witness Letter Examples & Templates

When someone requests a character witness letter, they are making a request that could have a huge impact on their lives. The requestor has presumably given it a lot of thought and feels that the person they ask will have credibility in court, with employers, with search committees, or with school admission groups. Their comments will count in their favor with the people making decisions about the person and their plans.

It is an important role. They need someone to compose a professionally written letter that highlights their qualities and convinces the court they should be given leniency. Search committees are looking for details that separate one candidate from another. There is no room for mistakes since you are potentially impacting someone’s future.

While writing a character witness letter may seem intimidating, there are guidelines and templates to assist in writing a high-quality letter. This post provides some additional guidance to help writers with this challenging and important task.

What Is a Character Witness Letter?

A character witness letter is written by a trusted family friend, teacher, or colleague advising search committees at universities, employers, courts, and parole boards of your credentials as a student, citizen, or employee. The letter is generally written by someone familiar with the person in terms of their experience, education, volunteering, employment, and contribution to society.

The character witness letter is an important letter that has a significant impact on someone’s career, lifestyle, and even freedom. It should be well written, factual, professional, and credible.

We will discuss the importance of this letter, how to write it and what to include in a character witness letter.

Why Character Witness Letter is Important?

There are many situations where a character witness letter is requested. We discuss a few of these and why they are so important to the person and society.

In court proceedings, the judge must decide the sentence that the defendant should receive. Local laws may suggest a range of sentencing in terms of the number of years in jail, volunteering, etc. The judge has some leeway in terms of selecting an appropriate penalty. There are the facts of the case, input from the lawyers, and character witness letters that provide the judge with information to help decide the penalty. A well-written letter could have a large influence on the judge.

Character witness letters are also used as letters of reference or recommendation. They can support your candidacy for awards, admission to a university, a job, or a volunteer position. These letters in these situations can have an impact on a person’s career, education, and support in the community. They can have a profound impact on their life.

Types of Character Witness Letters

The most common types of character witness letters are as follows:

  • Reference letters to employers about your personality and work experience
  • Letters to college admissions committees
  • Letters to support your candidacy as a volunteer
  • Support for awards
  • Letters to the court to assist in sentencing
  • Letters of reference to parole boards

Your choice of people to write a character witness letter is important. First, they need to have had some experience with you in various facets of your life. They should be able to attest personally to the characteristics they are writing about.

The person you chose should also be credible and respected. Family members are not considered good candidates. Family members are considered to be biased and not credible. Character references from family members are often discounted.

Typical candidates that many people make a request to, who are also considered credible include:

  • Coworkers and supervisors
  • Mentors
  • Religious representatives
  • Leaders in the community
  • Former teachers, coaches, and school administrators

How to Write a Character Witness Letter?

Obviously, you want the person preparing a character witness letter to say positive things about you and focus on attributes that will assist you in achieving the job, award, etc. while you cannot write the letter for them, you can assist them by providing important information they will require to write the letter. Information to consider include:

  • Describe the position, award, court case, or job
  • What qualifications make you an excellent candidate
  • How does your application stand out
  • What is at stake for you?

You may not need a reference letter immediately; however, most people do need these letters at some point in their career and life. Cultivate relationships and get to know people that could be candidates to prepare these sorts of letters in areas you are interested in.

A broad template for a character witness letter should include the following:

Character Witness Letter Template

(Your Name)

(Title, Company or Institution)

(Full address and)

(Email)

(Phone number)

(Date)

(Person Letter is addressed to)

(Title)

(Company or Institution)

(Full address, and)

Dear (Name)

Re: (Persons Full Name)

Body – Paragraph 1 – Introduce yourself – this is where you establish your credentials and why you are offering a reference. If you are sending this reference to a judge, indicate that you understand the charges against the defendant and that you are willing to be a character witness for them.

Body – Paragraph 2 – describe your history with the person, how you know them, and for how long. Describe positive situations and participation in various activities, i.e., volunteering, work history, education, sports organizations, and any organizations the person has a history with.

Body – Paragraph 3 – describe any other supporting information which may relate to the position applied for, court case, or parole board decision. Provide specific examples whenever possible.

Body – Paragraph 4 – close the letter by indicating the impact the decision will have on the person’s future life, employment, family, and other areas if relevant. Include your phone number, email and indicate you are willing to personally speak to the appropriate person about any questions they may have.

(Closing –

Sincerely, regards,)

(Signature)

(Printed Name)

Sample Character Witness Letter

(Your Name)

(Title, Company or Institution)

(Full address and)

(Email)

(Phone number)

(Date)

(Person Letter is addressed to)

(Title)

(Company or Institution)

(Full address, and)

Dear (Name)

Re: (Persons Full Name)

I have prepared this character witness letter on behalf of (Name of Person), whom I have known for (X) years both as a co-worker, a subordinate, and an employee of our company. I am one of the senior managers at our firm and have dealt with many employees and customers from all walks of life over the (X) years I have been at the company. I feel that I am a good judge of character.

We have known each other for (X) years, as mentioned. During that time, (name) has been punctual coming to work, taken only one or two sick days, and has numerous positive customer comments. (He or She) has won employee of the month awards (Y) times over the past several years.

(Name) recently helped a customer recover her purse, including identification and several hundred dollars. She somehow left it in the store and only realized she was missing the purse the next morning. (Name) was able to track our customer down and call her to make arrangements for the return of her purse.

We look forward to his return to our company to his position as (Name of Position). (He or She) deserves a second chance.

In closing, thank you for your time and attention to this letter. I am available to address any questions you may have.

Sincerely

(Signature)

(Printed Name)


Character Witness Letter Examples & Templates

Things to Keep in Mind When Writing a Character Witness Letter

Place yourself in the position of the judge or committee or parole board who is receiving your character witness letter. They will have multiple questions which a good character witness letter should attempt to answer. For example:

  • Are you impartial?
  • How do you know the person?
  • What knowledge do you have of their character?
  • Are you aware of why this person needs a character witness?
  • Why do you feel his or her conduct in the future will be positive?

The first thing you need to do is establish your credibility with the judge, the parole board, the housing committee, the university approval board, and so on. Next, what makes you a good judge of character, and why should they believe you. Tell a story that emphasizes their good traits, reliability, and accountability. Always tell the truth and avoid embellishment. Stick to the facts.

Tips for Writing a Character Witness Letter

Preparing a character witness letter may help someone receive a reduced sentence, be paroled early, get a job, join a volunteer organization, etc. Your letter can have a significant impact on their future life. A few tips may be helpful:

Be professional – you are dealing with professionals, and they expect nothing less. Your letter should set a professional tone, and any discussions you may have after sending the letter should also be professional. Check spelling and grammar, stick to the facts and be honest.

Introduction – identify yourself and your profession. Acknowledge why the letter is being sent. When you are aware of the stakes regarding the character witness letter, it tells the judge, the parole board members, the hiring committee that you are offering your reputation in support of the person.

How you Know the Person – cover how you met and how long you have known the person. Describe good deeds, organizations they are involved with, and activities they are involved with. You may also review how a negative decision could impact the person, their family, and their friends. Be specific and honest. Embellishment often loses any creditability you may have gained.

Focus on the Positive – the letter should focus on the positive aspects of the person you are writing about.

Emphasize essential qualities – how long you have known the person, qualities like honesty, integrity, decency, and reliability are important.

Longevity – if you have known the person for a long time, it lends credibility to your statements and that you know the real person.

Clear, concise statements – keep it straightforward; there is no need to make it complex and hard to read or understand.

Final Copy – it should be typed, reviewed for grammar and spelling and if the letter is being sent to the court, make sure your friend’s lawyers have reviewed it to ensure that it conveys exactly the right tone.

Key-points

A character witness letter can have a profound impact on someone’s life. Whether it is in a court of law on behalf of a defendant, or someone applying to a prestigious university, or someone applying for a senior-level job, the impact can be substantial.

Keep it professional, honest, and factual. Build your credibility as a character witness, and then provide your positive comments that support the individual. Always review your letter for accuracy, grammar, and spelling, especially the judge’s name, the parole board chairman’s name, or the chair of the committee interviewing your friend for a position in their organization.

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