Clarity Law

Specialist Traffic Law Firm Queensland
Friday, 12 January 2024 17:43

Character References for Traffic Charges

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When facing a traffic law charge in court, the importance of character references cannot be overstated. These references provide the court with valuable insights into the individual's character, helping judges and legal professionals better understand the person beyond the traffic charges they face. Selecting the right person to vouch for your character is crucial, as their credibility and knowledge about you can significantly impact the court's perception. In this article, we will explore the qualities that make someone the best person to ask for a character reference in a traffic law case.


Personal Connection

The ideal character reference should have a close and personal relationship with the individual facing charges. This person should be intimately acquainted with the accused's character, values, and behaviour. Friends, family members, colleagues, or mentors who have spent a considerable amount of time with the individual can offer meaningful insights into their true nature.


Professional Standing

In some cases, a character reference from someone in a professional capacity can carry weight in court. Employers, supervisors, or colleagues can speak to the accused's work ethic, integrity, and reliability. This is particularly relevant if the alleged offense is out of character with the individual's professional conduct.


Community Involvement

Character references from individuals involved in community activities or volunteer work can be compelling. Those who can attest to the accused's positive contributions to the community can help counterbalance the negative perception that may arise from traffic charges. Leaders or organizers of community groups, religious leaders, or mentors can be excellent choices.


Legal Knowledge

Choosing someone with a solid understanding of the legal system and courtroom proceedings can be advantageous. Lawyers, legal professionals, or individuals with experience in traffic justice may be better equipped to articulate the accused's character in a manner that aligns with the legal context. However, it is crucial that this person genuinely knows the individual and can speak authentically about their character.



Selecting someone who can present an unbiased and objective perspective is vital. While family and friends may be emotionally invested, it's crucial that the character reference remains objective, highlighting both positive and negative aspects of the individual's character responsibly.


What traffic charges benefit from a character reference?

Character references can be beneficial in various traffic-related cases to provide the court with additional context about the defendant's character and behaviour. Here are some types of traffic charges where a character reference might be helpful, along with explanations for each:

  1. Careless Driving

    • A character reference for a careless driving charge can present evidence of the defendant's responsible and careful driving history, potentially helping to show that the careless driving was an isolated incident or out of character.

  2. Drink Driving (DUI)

    • In DUI cases, a character reference can be crucial in demonstrating the defendant's commitment to sobriety, responsible drinking habits (if applicable), and overall responsible behaviour. It can be especially helpful if the defendant has sought rehabilitation or counselling.

  3. Unlicensed Driving:

    • For individuals caught unlicensed driving, a character reference can help establish that the defendant is otherwise a law-abiding citizen who may have faced specific circumstances leading to the license issue. It can support the argument that the defendant is responsible and committed to rectifying the situation.

  4. Dangerous Driving:

    • In dangerous driving matters especially if the incident resulted in an accident, a character reference can illustrate the defendant's general concern for safety and responsibility on the road. It can help show that the incident was an exception rather than a reflection of the defendant's usual behaviour.

  5. Work Licence Applications:

    • A character reference can be used in a work licence application to highlight the defendant's awareness of traffic laws and commitment to following them. It can provide context for any lapses in judgment, emphasising that such behaviour is not typical.

  6. Special Hardship Application:

    • In cases of applying for a special hardship order, a character reference can be instrumental in demonstrating the defendant's understanding of the severity of the situation and efforts made to rectify the license issue. It can support the argument that the defendant is taking steps to comply with their legal requirements.

  7. Evade Police

    • Evade police is a very serious charge and a character reference can be crucial in portraying the defendant as responsible and willing to take responsibility for their actions. It can demonstrate remorse, commitment to making amends, and highlight any mitigating circumstances.

In each case, the character reference should provide specific examples of the defendant's positive attributes, responsible behaviour, and any steps taken to address the situation. It's essential for the reference to be truthful and relevant to the specific traffic charge in question.


What goes into a character reference for court?

  • Referee's full name, including titles or qualifications if applicable.

  • Full home or business address of the referee.

  • Explanation of how long and in what capacity the referee has known the person.

  • Acknowledgment that the referee is aware of the offence and has discussed it with the person, including any expressions of remorse.

  • Referee's opinion on the person's character based on their relationship.

  • Referee's opinion on the impact of the offence on the person's attitude and behavior.

  • Any specific issues relevant to the referee (e.g., employer commenting on employment status).

  • Referee's opinion on the likelihood of the person re-offending.

  • Any other relevant information deemed appropriate by the referee.


Does the referee need to attend court?

Referees are generally not required to attend Court in person but may choose to do so.  Referees should not expect a response or inquiries about their reference.


Is the reference confidential?

  • Court references are read by the person’s lawyer, the police prosecutor, and the sentencing Judge or Magistrate.

  • Once handed to the Court, the reference becomes a public document and remains with the Court file.

  • If confidentiality is desired, the reference should be handed to the defendant in a sealed envelope or forwarded directly to the relevant office.


How should the reference be addressed?

  • It should be Addressed to “The Presiding Magistrate” at the relevant Magistrates Court.
  • Clearly state why the referee believes the person is of good character and how they are qualified to assess this.
  • De dated
  • Must be specific and detailed.



When seeking a character reference for a traffic law matter, it is essential to prioritize individuals who can provide a comprehensive and honest assessment of the accused. The best character references are those who know the individual intimately, have a positive and unbiased perspective, and can offer valuable insights into their character, values, and contributions to society. Ultimately, a well-chosen character reference can play a crucial role in presenting a more complete picture of the accused, helping the court make a fair and informed decision.


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If you don’t engage us that fine too, at least you will have more information on the charge and its consequences.


Need more information?

We have a range of articles on dangerous driving on our blog.  Some of the most recent have included:

Last modified on Tuesday, 16 January 2024 15:29
Steven Brough

Steven Brough is the Founder of Clarity Law.  He is one of the most experienced traffic lawyers in Queensland having appeared in court many thousands of time throughout Queensland since 2010.  He has authored over 100 articles about every aspect of traffic law in Queensland.

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