Early Termination of Probation in California
Early termination of probation in California is possible. California Penal Code section 1203.3 gives judges the option of terminating probation under certain conditions. The judge has sole discretion to terminate probation. That is where we come in. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners have successfully assisted many defendants in terminating probation early when certain qualifications have been met. Not all defendants are eligible. We screen those clients wishing to complete that process and only select those whom we think will be successful. We research and prepare the probation options and put together a package of information that ultimately puts our clients in a favorable light, making it easier for a judge to terminate probation.
Basis for Early Termination of Probation
It is up to the judges' discretion to terminate probation prior to the expiration of probation. Judges are looking for conditions that justify early termination. Most judges will not consider early termination unless the defendant has completed at least half of their probation. The judge considers various factors in deciding whether to terminate probation early, including:
- Successful completion of the terms of probation (e.g., classes, community service, court fines, costs of probation, counseling, restitution)
- Passing all drug tests during probation
- The defendant's overall criminal record
- The underlying crime that led to the conviction
- Any obstacles to gainful employment due to probation
- Any travel restrictions placed on the defendant due to probation
- Any new arrests or charges while on probation
- The percentage of probation time completed (the more time the better)
- Any probation violations on the current criminal case.
Our attorneys will guide you in collecting material that will help the judge make a determination in your favor, for example:
- Letters of recommendation; proof the terms of probation have been satisfied;
- Information about the underlying offense and proof of your good behavior;
- A letter from your felony probation officer or a probation report;
- A letter from the licensing board showing the upcoming license renewal.
Often, the prosecutor's opinion about early termination of probation is considered, therefore it is important to have a skilled criminal defense attorney interact with and convince the prosecutor that early termination is in the best interest of justice.
If the court is unwilling to completely terminate probation, a modification of the probation terms is possible. The court may be willing to modify the payment terms of court fines or reduce the total amount owed. Fines or Cal Trans may be converted to community service or travel limitations may be lifted. Although a judge rarely terminates restitution (the money that the defendant must pay to the victim of the crime), he or she may agree to modify the payment schedule.
At Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners, we also petition the court for an expungement of the conviction, along with the petition to terminate probation. Most misdemeanors and some felonies qualify for expungement. We may also get your felony (if it was a wobbler) reduced to a misdemeanor and then expunge it.
Los Angeles Probation Termination Attorney
For either a modification or early termination of probation to be granted, the defendant must show good behavior and reform. A successful early probation termination depends on obtaining and presenting all of the relevant information before the judge in a concise, organized manner that puts the defendant in the best light possible. Many judges do not favor requests for early termination of probation because they believe it is improper for a defendant to request the court to alter an agreement or plea previously entered into by the defendant. If you are on probation and want to put your criminal conviction behind you and move on with your life, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact one of the Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at our firm for a confidential consultation. We will address your concerns and evaluate the likelihood of obtaining an early termination of probation.