A mitigation letter from an attorney is one way to achieve a more favorable outcome when one is under prosecution for a DUI offense. This letter generally details the accused person's strong moral character and/or any hardships that serve as extenuating circumstances, and it attempts to influence the prosecutor to drop or reduce charges.
The prosecuting attorney is the one who determines how to charge the accused. Judges are not permitted to alter those decisions. The purpose of the mitigation letter is to change the prosecutor's mind. This is a fairly subjective process, and the relationship that the prosecutor has with the defense attorney can affect the success of this letter.
Effective mitigation letters have multiple attachments that include supporting letters from other parties, demonstration of the hardship through exhibits that can include bank account statements, work schedules and other information, and a general outline of the strategy the defense plans to use in court. In some cases, the prosecutor is willing to alter or remove the charges on the basis of this letter; in other cases, the mitigation letter has no effect on the legal proceedings. There is no set regulation requiring the prosecutor to provide any response at all to this sort of communication. The accused person's attorney is the best party to determine whether a mitigation letter is a wise strategy.