If you’ve completed your probation or if it’s causing significant problems or difficulties in your life or job, you might be able to terminate it ahead of schedule.

California judges have the power to grant early termination of probation in criminal cases, and in those cases, the court also has the power to reduce the level of your conviction from a felony or misdemeanor or even expunge your criminal record altogether.

If you’d like to explore early termination of your probation, your best option is to speak with a California criminal defense attorney. Your attorney will examine the specifics of your case to determine whether you might be able to end your probation early.   

How do you get early termination of probation?

California Penal Code 1203.3 PC provides courts with the power to revoke, modify, or change a person’s probation sentence at any time during the term of probation. That means that, if a court believes justice has been sufficiently served and the defendant has shown good conduct and reform, they have the authority to terminate the convict’s probation early.

That said, in most cases, courts prefer that the defendant complete at least 12 months of probation before considering early termination.

When a California court considers an early termination of probation case, they look for two specific criteria:

  1. The defendant has completed the terms of their probation. This can include paying fines, attending required courses or meeting other conditions set forth in the penalty.
  2. There are practical reasons to terminate probation early. This often takes the form of inability to advance at work or find gainful employment due to the probation status.

Benefits of terminating probation early

There are two main benefits to ending your probation early: (1) You reduce the risk of a probation violation, and (2) you may have your criminal record expunged sooner.

While on probation, you may be sentenced to time in jail or prison if you are arrested for any offense, even if you are not convicted. If you’re accused of violating your probation, you won’t be allowed to present a case before a jury and might face punishment at the discretion of a judge.

Finally, expungement of a criminal record removes the conviction from your record and may be crucial in a variety of situations, such as obtaining employment or housing. Expungement might also allow you to get your gun rights back, or relieve you from having to register as a sex offender.

The sooner your probation is terminated, the sooner you can move on with your life.

Hot to terminate your probation early

In order to make a request to end your probation early, the flowing steps should be followed:

1. Hire an attorney – This is one situation where it’s best not to do it yourself. Work with an attorney, who will file your paperwork and present your case to the court. 

2. Your attorney will request a hearing – Your attorney will file a motion for the early termination of probation with the court and request a hearing.

3. The hearing is held – Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might not need to be present at the hearing. Sometimes, your attorney can appear on your behalf, other times it might benefit you (or be required of you) to be present at the hearing.

4. The judge will determine if you’re a good candidate for early termination

How do I ensure my petition is successful?

When determining whether to terminate a defendant’s probation early, the court considers two factors: (1) “good conduct and reform”, and (2) the defendant’s circumstances and potential difficulties.

If the defendant demonstrates “good conduct and reform,” the court may grant an early termination of probation. This usually includes:

  • Demonstrated remorse for past actions
  • No arrests or issues with their criminal record while on probation
  • Fulfilled the terms of their probation, such as fines, restitution, community service and counseling

Next, the court will also consider the defendant’s criminal history, the severity of the offense  and the hardships that the defendant may face as a result of probation. This typically includes difficulty obtaining gainful employment, inability to qualify for a loan and inability to travel for family or employment reasons.

When is the best time to request having my probation terminated?

Courts usually grant probation termination after the defendant has completed some duration of their probation sentence. Commonly, this happens:

  • After at least one year of a probation sentence for a misdemeanor conviction
  • After at least 18 months of a probation sentence for a felony conviction

Can I get my criminal record expunged when I terminate my probation?

In most situations, you may have your criminal record expunged after completing or terminating your probation. Your defense lawyer is likely to request that your case be expunged at the same time as they file a motion to terminate your probation.

If you were convicted of a felony, your attorney can request that the charge be changed to a misdemeanor. If your probation is terminated early, your record will most likely be erased at the same time.

However, you may not be eligible for expungement of your criminal record if either of the following apply:

  • You are currently serving a sentence or are on probation for another criminal offense
  • You are currently facing charges for another criminal offense

If your probation is causing you problems in your personal, professional, or family life, or if you’ve completed the obligations of your sentence, you might be eligible to terminate it early.

Call today for a free case review – 805-273-5611.