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When you have plead guilty to a criminal offence in the Local Court one of the factors that the Magistrate takes into account when deciding the appropriate sentence for you is your remorse and contrition: how sorry you feel for what you’ve done.
For that reason it can be helpful to write an apology letter to the Magistrate explaining exactly how you feel, what you have learned and so why you won’t offend again.
When reading an apology letter the Magistrate will be judging the honesty of what you have to say and the level of insight that you have into your offending.
There is a temptation to Google what you should write, and to copy examples from the internet or from friends who have done this before. But Magistrates can tell when the words in your apology letter are not you own, and it might actually make them think that you are not remorseful and have not learned anything, leading them to give you a harsher penalty than if you had shown genuine remorse through your own words.
When you are looking for guidance about how to start or what to write in your apology letter, we recommend that you consider the advice below about what you could cover and what you should avoid when writing your letter. If you are not a confident writer you might like to use the sentence starter suggestions and key words to get you started.
Remember: there is no such thing as a bad apology letter if you have put effort in and been honest and genuine. The Magistrate doesn’t want to see a perfectly written piece, they want to see what you think and feel.
What you could cover
What to avoid
To describe feelings
To describe your offending behaviour
Image Credit – Alexander Korzhj © 123RF.com
Contact Armstrong Legal:
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