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How to write a letter to a court for drunk driving

Updated March 23, 2017

Drunk driving is a serious, life-threatening activity that carries serious legal consequences. While writing a letter to the court may soften the consequences for the offender, it does not lessen the seriousness of the offence. One person in the U.S.A. dies every 50 minutes in drunk-driving collisions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Ultimately, one in three people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime. Save lives. Be sincere in your apology and commitment to never drive drunk again.

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  1. Note your name and mailing address on the left side of the top three lines on the page. Place the date on the next line. Skip two lines.

  2. Document the name of the judge on one line. If you don't know the judge's name, substitute it with the name of the court. Otherwise, write the name of the court on the next line. Add the court's mailing address on the following two lines. Skip two lines.

  3. Open the letter with "Dear [insert name of addressee]:" Ideally, the judge's name should be included here. If you don't know the judge's name, substitute the name of the court.

  4. Begin the letter with a confession and an apology. Express shame and remorse for drinking and driving. Apologise both to the court and to society as a whole. If your actions resulted in an accident that damaged persons or property, specifically address apologies to the victims of your actions also.

  5. State whether this is your first drunk driving offence. The number of offences will dramatically affect the tone of the letter. First-time offenders can explain that they have never been so reckless before and did not realise until now just how dangerous their actions were. Repeat offenders should confess that they have been guilty of driving drunk in the past.

  6. Explain how you will prevent yourself from drunk driving in the future. Develop at least two effective strategies that will prevent yourself and potentially others from driving drunk in the future.

  7. Get help. Explain the help you will get for yourself, such as enrolling in Alcoholic's Anonymous. Ask for help from the court also. Some courts may mercifully substitute sobriety programmes for jail time.

  8. Conclude by taking responsibility for your actions and asking for forgiveness. Tell the court that you are ready to face the consequences of your actions, but ask for the opportunity to prove your remorse and change your behaviour. Promise that you will never drive drunk again.

  9. Close the letter with "Sincerely," and your signature.

  10. Tip

    Be sincere! If you struggle to feel remorse, personalise the situation by imagining that your friend or family member had been harmed or killed in the accident or by another drunk driver.

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Things You'll Need

  • Court contact information

About the Author

Nicole Thelin has more than a decade of professional writing experience. She has contributed to newspapers such as the "Daily Herald" of Provo, Utah, and now writes for several online publications. Thelin is pursuing a bachelor's degree in education from Western Governors University.

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