What is a letter of representations? What should I write in this letter?
- A letter of representations to the prosecution is a document sent by the defence to the prosecution.
- You should outline your position on the offence and provide reasons for this position.
- You may ask for no further action against you.
- You may seek a warning instead of prosecution.
- You can ask for fewer / less serious charges against you.
- It is best to let an experienced criminal defence lawyer do this for you.
A letter of representations to the prosecution is a formal document sent by you or your lawyer to the prosecution. The letter typically outlines the defence’s position on the offence and provide reasons for this position.
For instance, your lawyer may urge the prosecution to take no further action against you. This can take place if the prosecution can be persuaded that the alleged offence is not made out and you are not guilty. This could be based on the version of events you presented to your lawyer, or it could be because there are legal defences you can rely on.
On the other hand, your lawyer may advise that while you did commit an offence, they may wish to persuade the prosecution that there is little or no public interest in charging you. As such, your lawyer may seek a stern warning or conditional warning in lieu of prosecution against you. A warning acknowledges that there has been wrongdoing on your part but it does not leave any criminal record.
Even in a situation you did commit an offence and your lawyer expects for you to be charged, the letter of representations can still be useful. Your lawyer may ask the prosecution to proceed on fewer charges, proceed on less serious charges and/or seek a lower sentence. The letter of representations can highlight certain mitigating factors such as clean record, young age as the basis for these requests.
In summary, the letter of representations state your position on the offence, what you hope to obtain from the prosecution, and the reasons for this request.
While you can choose to draft and send the letter of representations on your own, this is usually not advisable. An experienced defence counsel will have the necessary knowledge and expertise to craft an effective and persuasive letter of representations. It requires an accurate analysis of the facts and understanding of the applicable laws. Most crucially, we will combine this with our deep understanding of how the prosecution is likely to act in any given situation, so as to secure the highest chance of the best possible outcome for you in our letter of representations.