Write a Letter of Pleading

Edited by JMA, Lynn, Anonymous, Eng and 17 others

From traffic violations to felony offenses, a person can choose to write a plea letter for their case. Putting something in writing is a phrase used to describe that you really mean what you are saying so a letter can add proof of sincerity to your situation. This letter helps paint you in a more positive light, and it allows you to express your remorse for the offense and any actions you've taken to remedy the situation. It also gives you the chance to plead for leniency and may result in a reduced fine, or you might even be let off the hook with a warning. The biggest keys to writing a successful plea letter are using a respectful tone, showing remorse and stating factual information.

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How to Write a Plea Letter to a Judge

  1. 1
    Consider the plea you will be putting in the letter.
    The evidence, crime at hand and advice of your lawyer will have an impact on the plea letter.
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  2. 2
    Include your name and contact information at the top of the letter.
    Write your full name, address and telephone number at the top of the letter. Also, include the case number or infringement number.
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  3. 3
    Ensure you always address the judge as "Your Honor" in the letter.
    Never call them Mr., Mrs., or by their first name. This is considered rude, and they will take note of your lack of respect in the matter.
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  4. 4
    The letter should start with a brief introduction of who you are and a description of the charges against you, as well as the date that the incident occurred.
    This gives the judge a better understanding of the matter.
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  5. 5
    Begin the second paragraph by acknowledging your mistake and your reasoning behind the situation.
    Be careful to avoid making excuses for your behavior. Show remorse in your words and include any actions you intend to take to remedy the situation and avoid a future occurrence of the offense. These can include any remedial actions you've taken such as driving courses, rehabilitation, renewed documents (if you had an expired license, insurance or registration, etc.). List any positive attributes about yourself that might be pertinent to the case or help to build your character, but keep it factual and direct. Judges are usually more lenient for first-time offenses and victimless crimes. Mention how or why a large fine or other penalty would be particularly financially or emotionally detrimental to you. Situations such as previous trauma or abuse, being a single parent and raising your child on your own, acting as a caregiver for sick or elderly family members or being a poor college student often draw more sympathy and leniency from a judge, but be sure to state factual information only.
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  6. 6
    State what you hope to achieve by writing this letter.
    You're most likely asking for leniency of some type, but be specific in your request, whether it's requesting to not have to show up in court (offer to show up via teleconferencing), reduce a fine or prevent effects on your driving record. If the court allows you to enter your plea in writing, such as guilty or not guilty, include this information here.
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  7. 7
    Close the letter and be to the point.
    In the final paragraph, mention that you'd like to "Thank you for your time". You will need to sign your name with "Sincerely" or "Respectfully" followed by the date.
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Sample Letter of Pleading

Below is a sample letter of pleading to a judge for a speeding ticket. Replace the information with your own personal details.

Sample letter.JPG

Address the envelope in this manner:

The Honorable Judge (Full Name)

Judge of (Name of the Court)

Mailing Address


  • Type out your letter since it's easier to read and looks more professional. Beneath your typed name, write your signature in ink.
  • Enclose any relevant copies of documents related to information you're stating, such as completed courses or renewed documents.
  • Have a second pair of eyes review the letter to ensure that there aren't any mistakes.
  • Write the letter well before the court date. This shows you are serious about the matter and it gives the judge more time to consider it.
  • If you wish to enter a plea by mail, most court websites provide downloadable forms that you can print and fill out the requested information. If you plead not guilty by mail, you'll most likely be required to show up in court, so be sure to complete and mail in this paperwork as soon as possible.


  • Consult with your lawyer before or after writing your plea letter. He or she will most likely want to review it and help you revise it, if necessary.
  • If you wish to enter a plea by letter because you can't attend court, contact the court clerk as soon as possible to find out more information.
  • Avoid lies, obscene language and irrelevance in the content being written. The judge can use all those factors against you in the court of law.
  • Avoid including vague statements without facts to back them up. Statements such as "I'm a trustworthy person" or "paying a fine would be detrimental to my finances" don't really stand well on their own. Include the "hows" and "whys" so the judge fully understands your situation.

Questions and Answers

Can I have a sample of the letter?

How is the letter worded and presented

A letter of pleading is used in order to request for a reconsideration of certain cases. In which case, your letter must contain the following:

1. Details of the case. Make sure you really indicate the specifics. If there are case numbers and dates, you must indicate these correctly. 2. Details of the issue that you would like to be reconsidered. 3. Reason why you would like to be reconsidered and other supporting details.

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End the letter with a thank you and that you are waiting for a reconsideration of the case. Also, request for a time-frame that you can expect some resolution.

See more questions like this: Appeal letter for leniency after termination of employment

Would it help any to write a letter to d.a to plead with them?

Its very possible that it could. Its really hard to say whether or not the D.A. will even get to see it, or even take the time. The way I look at it though, is , it can't hurt. I mean if you write the letter and the D.A. doesn't read it, then oh well it couldn't take long to write a letter. Now if you write one and it makes them be more lenient, then you will really be happy.

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See more questions like this: Can I write a letter to the new judge of the circuit court because the retiring judge made a wrong decision and based the decision on presumption and not facts

How can I write a letter to my boos explaining to her that even if I will resign I can still receive my salary and other benefits?

How can I write a letter to my boos explaining to her that even if I will resign I can still receive my salary and other benefits?

You just have to state that you are planning to resign at this time and that you are willing to follow the usual notice period and do a proper handover. In exchange for that, you expect that they will honor your contract and that you will still receive your salary and benefits as normal during the time that you are still with the company. Besides, this is something that can't be violated by employers, so if you are having any problems on this, you just have to go back to your contract and show that to them. You may also seek for help from the labor department of your country in case your employer refuses to cooperate.

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See more questions like this: How to write a pleading letter to explain that there is nothing missing in inventory

Ask for mercy or plead my explanation to the court and my employer?

I was at work removing damaged scrap wire from manholes, instead of bringing all the wire back to the shop to be put into a wire trailer, which I had no knowledge I had to do. I took the most damaged and filthy wire to a scrap yard with the company truck and cashed it in. The following day the company's police department came and arrested me and the co-worker that was with me for theft of company property and using a company vehicle for non-company use. I admitted taking the damaged garbage wire to the scrap yard with the company truck but denied that I knew I was committing theft. I was never told about a scrap wire trailer or told to bring even the damaged garbage wire back. I will admit to doing it but not to knowledge that I was stealing. My Question is what can I say or plead for mercy too.

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You need to take ownership for not being aware that you had to put the wire in the scrap trailer. You are using that as an excuse. Not a very valid one, most would say it is common sense that the scrap you were retrieving belonged to the company because they were paying you to remove the scrap. If you did not know what to do with the scrap at the end of the day, it was your duty to ask. Instead you went and cashed the scrap in and kept the money.

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See more questions like this: Seeking another date to attend court

Disobeyed traffic control device?

I was driving to Niagara Falls, New York, after I crossed toll to the express way it was densely foggy outside. I was driving to the left, the state police pulled me over for disobeying traffic control device. He stated usually in fog no one speeds and I don't want them to think I'm not doing anything all night. The ticket carries two points go to the court and it will get reduced to a lesser offense. I want to plead not guilty, it was densely fog you could barely see driving and I had just got out of the toll booth.

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Check the plea box on the citation and you will either get a court date for appearance in traffic court or they will set a meeting with a court moderator who handles traffic disputes. You make a valid point that you had just left the toll booth so how fast could you have been going. Also address the reliability of radar guns in foggy conditions. Good luck however most times pleading a traffic offense in court guarantees a lesser fine or point reduction.

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See more questions like this: Joe. How much is the cost for your service

I was issued a summons from a Court in Pennsylvania for posting a bad review on the Internet?

I am desperate for HELP! I was issued a summons from a Court in Pennsylvania for posting a bad review on the Internet about someone that I had been dealing with for over 6 years (on the phone as an "anxiety therapist." I never met her in person, since I live in another state and cannot go to court there. I am a senior citizen on a fixed income, in debt, with health issues and no money to speak of. I pleaded not guilty to this summons of "slander/harassment" because if I am guilty of anything it is telling "the truth" about this person! I posted on a free website for good and bad reviews whether it be a doctor or any other business. This person who is all over the Internet and trolls the Internet found it and because I was not very smart and put my name on it even though some had posted on other websites anonymously, she thinks they are all from me and it went viral on Google which I never told anyone to do regarding mine. I don't know about the other ones! This woman listed herself as a "psychiatrist" on a medical website when she is only a "nutritionist" which to me is "criminal." There are too many things to talk about in this e-mail, but I have no money for a defense attorney and I MUST report in person or I will be found GUILTY and they could issue a "warrant" for "my arrest" in my state! Is this possible? This to me is total harassment! I have no option but to plead guilty since I can't go down there, BUT, I would like to send a letter to the Judge stating my evidence in a precise way and pay the darn fine to get rid of this demon and close the case. I am doing this in protest and don't really know how to word that so it doesn't look disrespectful to the Judge. I don't even know if he will bother to read this letter to him. I will even have it notarized if that's what it takes to send with my check or before I send in the money before the trial should I wait to hear what the Judge says back to me? The court date is September 11th, of all days the day of the WTC disaster! How ironic is that?. This is a disaster at least for me! I have never been accused of ANY crime and this woman slandered me a year ago trying to discredit my character with the bank because I didn't want to pay her for three weeks for services not rendered by her!. So my question is what do I say to the Judge? He may NOT even read it but I don't care. I want it to be on my record if I have to send money in. Also, is there any way to ask the Judge if I can pay this amount out because of my financial situation and being in debt? Thank you for any advice. Shall I tell him about all the evidence that I have against her?

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Disclaimer: VisiHow does not provide legal advice.

There are not many options for you in this case. Since you were summoned to court in Pennsylvania, you do need to show up: not showing up to court will throw the case and you'll be found guilty. Some courts will let you show up by phone, though; you'll need to call the court to see if this is something they will allow you to do.

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You should also write a response to the summons. In the response, you need to include the following:

  • Why the court should rule in your favor.
  • Give evidence in this letter, as well.
  • After you've written the letter, you should mail it to the court, your attorney, the other party's attorney, and also keep a copy for yourself.
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Typically, summons responses are written with your attorney so everything is covered. Try to contact your local public defender (if your area has one) or the public defender in the city in Pennsylvania in which the court date is scheduled. Public defenders are attorneys that are appointed to defendants who are unable to pay for their own -- take advantage of them!

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If you have done the research and can prove that this "psychiatrist" is anything but, you should have a strong case to take to the court with you. Unfortunately, the law requires that you show up to the court in Pennsylvania or at least "show up" via a phone call. And unless you want to represent yourself, using a public defender is a must, as well.

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Good luck in your case!

See more questions like this: I have received a summons for on payment of TV license?

How do I write a letter denying charges related to traffic incidents?

I have a speeding/moving violation ticket and I'm submitting a written statement, trying to figure out the proper and most professional way to write it. I need a template of sorts for my situation, I have to get this in within this week.

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Follow the template that has been given in this VisiHow article. For your situation make sure to provide details of why you believe that you are not guilty of the traffic offense.

See more questions like this: How much do you charge? Just need to know upfront so I know if I need to get out my credit card?

I want to make a letter to my wife lady boss?

Pleading letter to release my wife from jail In the letter explain how the incarceration of your wife has impacted your life. If your wife has made statements of regret for her actions you can input those in the letter as well.

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Need help writing a plead letter for red light traffic violation?

I received a Traffic ticket for $170 to appear in a municipal court for running the red-light. I can afford the amount. I either plead guilty or not. But either way I am boxed in. I need help to avoid paying the amount or postpone court day without going to court.

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Thanks for your help

You can request a postponement for your court date if you request in enough time. If you have problems paying the fine some municipalities will agree to a payment arrangement so that you do not lose your license for unpaid fines.

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See more questions like this: Payment plan on a traffic violation

My court is tomorrow in VA, I'm from NC. I just found out about the court date?

I cannot request for continuance again because of my current situation. I need help to write a letter to court please.

Follow the steps above for how to address the courts. Another option would be to call the clerk of courts in that location and ask for permission to appear in court over the phone.

My trial is set for the 21st and pretrial this friday the 18th?

I live in Butte County California and was charged with a 422 in March. I am attempting to write a letter to the judge pleading my case.

Follow the template above.

Request to lower my fine in order to get license?

I was cited for no proof of insurance involving a minor fender bender. My insurance had just expired the morning of the minor fender bender. I had my license suspended for failure to appear being as how I have been living on El Centro. I'm in between jobs and It will put extreme Robles in being able to afford to eat and pay rent, if there was some how away that I could have my fine reduced so I can continue to look for work and make it to my side jobs when they come about.. I have tried: Enter 3 days in jail to reduce the fine on another traffic infraction, and paid minimal payment of 40.00. I think it was caused by: No insurance and my irresponsible decision to drive knowing so

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Unfortunately that loss of your license is your punishment. Address the courts that you can't pay the fine without a job and hopefully they will give you a reprieve.

See more questions like this: I got a speeding fine and cannot afford to pay it

Failing to provide a sample for analysis?

I was stopped by the police after drink driving however initially I refused to give them a breath sample but eventually did, at which point I was taken to the police station! I can however hardly remember what happened there as I was in total shock, confused and petrified partly because I have never been in these circumstances before and partly because of some medication that I take that causes short breath, dizziness and confusion. But I didn't tell them I was on any medication. I don't even remember if they asked for further tests or not or they just assumed that because I had refused earlier then I wasn't going to allow them to take any sample, I am not sure. The only thing I remember is waking up in a cell and being asked for fingerprints DNA samples and to sign my plea! I just signed it but it was more out of wanting to leave and get refocused as I was in an unfamiliar environment. My question is can you advise how can I write up a letter of pleading for leniency as I know what I did was wrong and what I should include i.e. say my medication or this will be viewed as trying to find an excuse for my behavior.

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You were in fact intoxicated. The medication would not be a valid excuse but rather could help in you apologizing for your confusion during the arrest.

Where are you located? Do you help prepare legal documents?

Case in Court. Originated as basic PI case. Now it is Criminal and Civil Complex Litigation with PI elements (Serious Heavily Bodily Injuries). Problem is huge. But first thing first: Respond and Important facts must be stated. Motion to Compel and Sanctions are requested by the other parties for May 18, 2015.

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Multiple failings and they all must be addressed in this form clearly. Thanks for reading.

No the users of VisiHow do not prepare legal documents as a service on behalf of the website.

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Just need some help on putting the story together so it makes sense?

I am trying to write a letter of explanation for my teenage son. He was in contempt of his court order but on his defense, he has been experiencing a lot of mental health problems which has kept him from fulfilling his court obligations.

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State in the letter how his mental health impacts his commitments and behavior. If you can, ask a Mental Health Professional to also write a letter or give you permission to quote them in your letter. Also make sure to plead for intervention if he is confined for his crime. This will show that your son's mental well being are of utmost priority for him to have a positive impact on his rehabilitation.

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Given a letter to move by December but I don't have any money, need to ask the Landlord for mercy for the next three months for free rent in order for me to save and move out?

If I could keep my rent for the next three months

In a letter requesting rent leniency, you need to give valid reasons for why you can not pay and what you are doing to change those reasons. Details need to be given on how you will back pay your rent as well as your current rent payment once you can begin paying rent again. It usually takes more than 3 months for a landlord to get a court date for eviction so hopefully your landlord will be reasonable with you.

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See more questions like this: I am on parole and I got a letter telling me I was going to lose my license. I just lost my husband 3 months ago and my son lives in Ohio. Can I get an appeal for this. I don't have an attorney?

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I am not sure how to word a letter to the judge for sentencing tomorrow?

Almost 4 years ago, I had lost my job so I sold my laptop that I used for school as well as my cellphone to pay on things. I accepted a business check from a family members friend stating her family owned the business. I trusted everything was fine because I trusted my family member whom said it was okay. I deposited the check into my checking account. The bank closed my account and gave me the remaining balance in cash. A year later I moved to Louisville, to be with my boyfriend. I was pulled over in my work vehicle while making a delivery for edible arrangements for speeding and the police man arrested me and booked me into jail stating that I had a warrant for my arrest in Tucson, AZ. I had no idea what was going on until I saw a judge and then I was still confused. They released me after 2 days and then I found out that they had put a warrant out again for me for the same thing. I got a plane and came home to AZ., and turned myself in, I am being charged for fraud. I am told that there are 5 other people involved in this case and I know none of those people. I accepted a plea because I felt horrible after finding out that there were victims involved and that the check was a fake. I felt I should take some responsibility because I shouldn't have assumed the check I received was okay. I feel horrible and have for the past 3-4 years that I have been dealing with this. I have a great job at a community health clinic as an MAA and I am starting nursing school this Sept. There's no way I can have a career as a nurse with a felony on my record. I am willing to complete a probation program and would like to have this changed to a misdemeanor at sentencing. I could lose my wonderful job I have now if I have a felony. I would like to tell the judge I am remorseful and that I did nothing intentionally and that I had no idea, but I have no idea how to word my letter. I am so nervous as it is. Can you help me?

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You have genuine remorse and have taken responsibility for what you have done as well as turned yourself in once you became aware of the warrant. These will work in your favor so make sure to include that in your plea letter. You have a good chance of leniency because it was not a crime of pattern and you are intent on resolving the matter.

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See more questions like this: I need to go before a judge tomorrow and withdraw my petition for divorce, I found out that my husband has dementia, and he is asking me to withdraw

Would like to have a draft of submissions in a criminal case?

Content of the submissions in criminal matters A Written Submission is given in these steps:

  • Begin with the act of crime that you are charged with. For example: On May 18, 2015 my client was charged with burglary.
  • Summarize the facts. Address what evidence is backing up the claim for the burglary.
  • Bring up issues. This is the point that you answer any questions that were asked of you as well as give extra detail that you feel needs to be considered during trial.
  • Your argument. Give your plea of why your client is not guilty. Make sure to include past statutes as well as previous cases.
  • Conclusion. Bring your entire letter together in the final paragraph. You want to have the summary of facts to support your argument in the conclusion.
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See more questions like this: Hi, I had an accident, I put case to lawyer?

I am trying to reduce or waive my parking ticket?

Our family recently moved to Bethesda, Maryland from Michigan for my new job at the Uniformed Services University. It was our first visit to D.C. area since we moved in. I wasn't aware that the parking spot was reserved for HANDICAP. This is the first handicap parking ticket I've received in my 20 years of driving.

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On Jan. 2nd, we drove to Eastern market and found nice parking spot. In Michigan, the handicap parking lot has different color and even a parking meter has sign for the handicap. I usually check the parking spot, if it has blue color on it or the sign next the spot, so I don't park on a Handicap Parking. I checked the parking spot, no handicap sign, and middle of the parking spot, no handicap sign. Finally, I checked the parking meter that I paid more than 100 min. no handicap sign. We were so happy to have that we found a wonderful spot until we found the ticket when we tried to drop things we bought.

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When we found a ticket, we thought there was a mistake. We checked multiple times before we park and there was no sign for handicap. Then we searched the parking area and found a sign at the end of the parking lines that the parking for handicap during business hours from Monday to Saturday. As soon as we found that the parking spot was for the handicap people, we moved our car right away.

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It was unintentional mistake, however I accepted full responsibility for my actions and I am very sorry. I learned a lesson that a handicap parking spot doesn't have to have permanents sign on it and it can be during only certain time during the days in a big city. Our whole family will check the spot before we park more carefully.

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I just graduated and moved to Maryland and started my first job. We spent a lot of money to move here from Michigan and the living cost here is double. Please take this into consideration when reviewing my case.

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I am requesting that you reduce my fine or any additional penalties. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Your letter is a great example of a plea letter.

See more questions like this: Trying to get a ticket dismissed or reduced

When it says brief description of yourself, do I declare I am a single mom and not working?

I am a single mom of two and not working, do I start the letter that way?

If you feel those are pertinent details of your case then yes include them.


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