Character references are people you have known for a long time and who know what kind of person you are. In other words, they are people who can tell the court your demeanor, your attitude, your outlook toward life, how you treat your family and friends, how you help the community, and so on.
To be most effective, character references should be people that you have a close relationship with but not so close that the court may think they would lie for you. The character references should also be people with some type of good standing in the community. Good character references often include your priest/rabbi/pastor (assuming you go to church regularly); your teachers or coaches (again, assuming you attend classes or train regularly); your boss (assuming you are a good employee); local politicians, police chiefs, police officers (if you are close with them); or anyone else who knows you well enough to let the court know the type of person you are.
Much like your personal biography, character references are important at arraignments, bail hearings, plea bargainings, and sentencings. Because some stages of the criminal process where character references can be important occur very early, get the list to your criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.
If you have been involved in an incident that you fear may make you the target of a police investigation or if you have been contacted by police or arrested already, call a criminal defense attorney at the American Justice Center for a free, confidential, no obligation consultation (then get started on your list of potential character references).