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How do I get off probation early and drop my felony to a misdemeanor?

San Diego, CA |

On 12-10-2011 I was stopped by Sdpd and they found 2 lbs of marijuana. I got scared and my story made it seem like I was a drug dealer. I went to jail for HS 11357' HS 11359 & HS 11360.  After getting a lawyer, we plead guilty with a plea bargain. On 3-16-12 I was convicted of just HS11359 felony. If I remained a law abiding citizen and didn't violate my probation for 18 months(9-16-13), I could get off probation early, drop my felony to a misdemeanor and expunge that misdemeanor.
Will I need my old lawyer or can I talk to the probation dept myself because it was part of the plea bargain? Can the charges get taken cared of in Sept or do I have to wait longer because the fines aren't fully paid for yet? And should I get a lawyer to handle it or do it on my own? Thanks.

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Attorney answers 7


You never "need" a lawyer. You may find it easier to have a lawyer put the papers together for you. You will need to file a 1203.3 motion to terminate probation early and a 1203.4 motion to expunge your record. You file those motions with the court, and need to serve a copy on the district attorneys office and probation. You should note the terms of rife plea bargain in your motions to let the judge know that you should be allowed to make these motions early. You usually need to wait till you have been in probation for more than half of the assigned time before making these motions.


This morning I'm going to get my hair cut. I'm going to pay someone else to do it because I've never been to barber school, and once I tried to do it myself and ended up looking like an idiot.

I'd wager that this process is more important to you than a haircut. I'd also wager that if you screw it up, you're going to regret it for a lot longer than the two weeks it took for my hair to grow back. I know money is tight. It's tight for everybody. But what is this worth to you? Get an attorney. And yes, not having your fines paid is likely going to hold up the process.

No attorney-client relationship is created by communications on AVVO. Any information provided by the attorney is for general informational purposes only. Always consult with a qualified attorney who is licensed to practice in your area.

Michael Adam Haber

Michael Adam Haber


Gr8 answer - especially when contrasted to the exceedingly poor advise given by Mr. Hagopian above.


I'm a FL lawyer and don't know the first thing about CA law, practice or procedure but, after almost 22 years of criminal defense litigation practice I do know this: Operating in a criminal courtroom without an experienced criminal defense lawyer is almost never a good idea.

ET (early terminating probation) is not (in FL anyhow) an overly complicated matter, but there are procedures to be followed nonetheless and, if you made a plea bargain for reduced charges upon termination of probation (which would be an extremely rare albeit not completely unheard of circumstance in FL) then it is in your best interests to make sure that the process flows both smoothly and favorably.

While you may be able to navigate the process pro se, 100/100 times you will be best served by having an experienced criminal defense litigator in your corner. Either way I wish you the best of luck!

First, second and third: No attorney-client relationship exists by virtue of any Q&A with Michael A. Haber, Esq. on Avvo. Fourth: Anything that you post on Avvo (or on similar sites) or on any social media is by its nature public. It is essentially an admission / confession and can be introduced into evidence as a statement against your interest in a subsequent legal proceeding. Once posted you lose any reasonable expectation of privacy, so, as this is an open forum (with no privilege attached), please be extra careful when considering what to post online (forewarned is forearmed.)


Speak to your lawyer. You can't get anything dropped to a misdemeanor until you've complied with all of the terms of the current probation i.e. fines. If it was part of the plea bargain that it be reduced to a misdemeanor after a diversionary period, then you need to do what is necessary to comply with the terms of the probation. It sounds like he already put over sentencing. Your question is a little confusing which is why you need a lawyer to get in there and straighten things out. It isn't good when you pick up a new case when you're already on probation for something else, as here. LAW OFFICE OF VICTORIA CLEMANS, ESQ.

This is a general statement regarding law and facts and should not be construed as an attorney-client relationship or a solicitation for same.


In order to have your case reduced and expunged you will need to successfully complete probation and have all fees and fines paid off. If time is of the essence, you may have your attorney request early termination of probation. You can attempt to handle the matter yourself, but to ensure the best result you should hire the best defense attorney available to handle the matter. Most defense attorneys in San Diego County provide free consultations, so you shouldn't hesitate to call and learn more about what can be done on your behalf.

Law Office of Andrew Limberg, APLC 380 S. Melrose Dr., #329 Vista, CA 92081 (760) 806-4381

Victoria L Clemans

Victoria L Clemans


Definitely hire a San Diego lawyer.


All terms need to be filled out before you can apply with any chance of success.

When completed check the prices of some attorneys who offer free consultation. I would recommend an attorney to get results. Good luck.

This reply should NOT be considered a legal opinion of your case / inquiry. At this time I do not have sufficient factual/legal documentation to give a complete answer to your question and there may be more to the issues you raised then I have set out in my brief reply


HS 11359 is not a reducible felony. Hire the best, locally experienced, criminal defense attorney you can afford if you are not comfortable using your original attorney.

Law Offices of David Shapiro 3555 4th Avenue San Diego, CA 92103 (619) 295-3555

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