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Can I represent myself for early release or modification of community control/probation?

Seminole, FL |

I was arrested in 2011 for trafficking synthetic narcotics, in 2013 I was sentenced to 2 years house arrest 3 years probation. With ability for early release. I have paid my fines, held a job, have not violated. In january I will have completed 1 year of community control, Can i represent my self in court to seek early termination/modification of my community control? What do I need to know? I was given an adjudicated withhold, and provided "Assistance" in my case. I can afford a lawyer, but would rather not. The case is in Lee county. I have continued to hold a steady job, and my PO essentially has stopped checking in on me, with the exception of my required weekly visits. I was not required to satisify any other requirements as a result of my sentence, but have 200 in community service.

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Attorney answers 4


Without knowing the law and not wanting counsel, your best bet might be to find out which Judge is currently assigned to your case and essentially spell out in writing what you have written above - you never know. Make sure you copy the prosecutor as well so they can give their input (and so you can avoid having an ex-parte communication with the Court).


Yea you can absolutely represent yourself on this matter. You would have to draft a motion and file it with the clerk and then coordinate with the judge's office the scheduling of the hearing. It's always in your best interest to utilize the services of an attorney in this type of situation for multiple reasons. For one, an attorney can get this motion filed and scheduled much quicker than you could on your own. In addition an attorney may be able to get the state to stipulate to the modification or early termination. Good luck!
Serving Florida's West Coast.


If you have not violated and successfully reach the 1/2 way point then you are entitled to ask for ET (in your case "conversion" - your 2 year CC sentence would be ET's and the year slashed would be added to your 3 year probationary term, making 4 years probation which would also be subject to ET after 2 successful years and completion of all conditions).

Can you do this yourself? Yes. Should you? No. This is not a horribly complicated matter but there is a good reason for the adage that "only a fool represents himself." I would be surprised if you could not find a competent criminal defense lawyer to prepare, file and litigate a Motion for ET/Conversion in Lee County for a reasonable fee. It requires absolutely no "legal" work; rather it is a routine motion that most likely only requires a change in the "style" of a form document which has been used dozens or hundreds of times before. The only "research" required is a few moments on line (reviewing yourcase docket) and telephone calls to your CCO and ASA (to verify that you are compliant and otherwise eligible and to see if an agreed order is possible - if so an agreed order make it an even simpler process).

If what you have proffered is true then I expect 2.5 - 5 hours of work / time expended in this matter(although it could be more - the only certain thing in litigation is that nothing is certain). Some lawyers value their time at more or less than others, but I expect that if a lawyer wanted to "hook you up" then they'd handle this matter for $500-750, although you could certainly expect that many would charge more (and you MUST NOTE that a) I do not quote fees for anyone other than myself and b) I am NOT quoting you a fee here and now, rather, I am merely suggesting guidelines for your consideration based upon almost 22 years of criminal defense experience).

If you want to limit the possibilities for error and increase the probabilities for success then lawyer-up. There are plenty of Lee County criminal defense practicioners and I am sure that you will find an affordable one. Although I practice primarily in Miami-Dade County you are welcome to contact my office for a referral or two, or you can search the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers website by locality (please see - and click on the "Find A Lawyer" tab).

Either way best of luck!

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Yes. but a lawyer can help organize the presentation. BUT, you were only recently sentenced, right? The rule of thumb for many courts is that they want to see that you have done half of your sentence before they will entertain a motion for early termination. If you decide to go forward with this, you have mentioned many of the things courts generally look for. Also, bring people to testify on your behalf and/or bring affidavits from employers, and get your probation officer to come to court or write a letter to the court. If you still have outstanding community service hours you can ask to pay it off at $10/hr (typical amount).

The response above is intended for informational purposes only. The information provided is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, legal advice or opinion. The reader should not consider this information to be an invitation to an attorney client relationship, should not rely on information presented here for any purpose, and should always seek the legal advice of counsel in the appropriate jurisdiction. Transmission and receipt of the information in this site and/or communication with me is not intended to solicit or create, and does not create, an attorney-client relationship between me and any person or entity.

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