A convicted criminal defendant on probation can file a motion for early termination of probation in the county where the conviction occurred. The information below applies to in California, under Penal Code Section 1203.3 however similar processes may be available in your state.

Requirements/Satisfying the Court Ordered Terms of Probation

Every case is different, which is why the defendant considering filing a motion for early termination of probation should always consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney beforehand. That being said, here are some basic points:

  • Normally, the defendant will need to establish that he/she has successfully completed the court-ordered jail/prison sentence, paid all fines and restitution, completed all counseling requirements (alcohol, anger-management, etc...), along with any other terms imposed at the time of your conviction.
  • If the defendant has violated the terms of probation at any time, this will also effect the Court's analysis.
  • The court may also consider positive efforts that have been made by the defendant, while on probation. This can include:

    • Efforts to acquire and maintain employment
    • Engaging in volunteer and community service work
    • Educational pursuits
    • And otherwise
  • Hardships to the defendant as a result of the probation may also be considered.

Filing the Motion

The defendant should consult with a lawyer prior to filing any motion. Most counties require Court pleadings for these types of motions and a formal hearing. At the time of the hearing, the District Attorney's office will have the opportunity to oppose the Motion, and present arguments in response to the the defendant's moving papers. The Court will then make a decision as to whether or not the Motion to Terminate Probation should be granted.

Other Factors

Unless the defendant has been on probation for an extended period of time from the time of the conviction (normally, at least a year), the filing of the motion may be premature. Additionally, it is important to demonstrate to the court how the probation has impacted the defendant.

For example, many individuals experience problems such as: loss of employment positions or job advancements, inability to successfully pass background checks, restrictions on travel, loss of benefits and otherwise, as a result of being on "active probation status." These types of issues can also be taken into consideration at the time of the hearing.

Consult with an attorney today to determine whether or not you are eligible to have your probation terminated early.