Beginner's Guide to Early Termination of Probation

When my clients are sentenced, I almost always get asked the same question;

“WHEN WILL I BE OFF PROBATION?”

As much as I wish there was an easy answer to this question, there isn’t. Courts and judges vary from area to area as to their likelihood of granting an early termination of probation. However, that does not mean you can’t put forth your best effort to get that successful discharge from probation!

Here is a quick and simple list, then we can dive in further:

  1. Perform all of your court-ordered drug and alcohol testing as required
  2. Pay your fines early
  3. Complete community service (even more if possible)
  4. Complete your classes i.e. MADD Victim Impact Panel, Alcohol Awareness, Outpatient Therapy
  5. Determine why you DESERVE to be off probation early
  6. Cultivate a great and trusting relationship with your probation officer

What else can I do to help my case?

Alright, now that you have a broad idea of what is necessary, let me give you some further tips. For a standard probation (12-18 months), judges will most likely not consider early termination until you have completed at least half of your probation. While they most likely will not consider it, that doesn’t mean it is impossible. After all, you never get anything that you don’t ask for.

In addition, and I cannot stress this enough, YOU MUST HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR PROBATION OFFICER. I know that some probation officers can be very tough and demanding. However, your judge will consult with probation as to whether you should be terminated from probation early. If you have fought and bickered with your probation officer, this process can be much more difficult. Even if you do not like him/her, go in with a smile and be respectful. Do what they ask. Contact an attorney to determine if they are being excessive, but do not confront them in an aggressive way on your own.

What if I don’t have a good relationship with my Probation Officer?

With that being said, sometimes you just won’t be able to have a relationship with your probation officer. That’s okay! You can still convince a judge that you are deserving of an early termination. In order to do this, you must show substantial compliance with the terms of your probation. Read over your order of probation. Did you do everything the judge requested? Have you tested clean? GOOD! These are all things judges will consider.

I’ve had violations. Can I still ask for early termination?

It depends. What was the violation for? Dirty test? Additional criminal charges? Failure to report? All of these things can complicate your case. However, it does not mean you are doomed. We have been successful at helping those with even spotty probation records achieve early termination.

Okay, let’s do this. What is my next step?

You can attempt to do apply for early termination on your own. Speak with your probation officer to see if they think you would be a good candidate. However, if you are scared or nervous to broach the topic, call us! We can help you gather the appropriate documentation needed for a successful early termination motion to the court. While these may not always be successful, judges respect and admire your progress. They may choose to shorten your probation, or even tell you ways to achieve early termination in the future.

If you are tired from calling every morning to test, or you simply can’t handle the stressors of probation, think about your options. Early termination of probation is a possibility if the work is done correctly. As always, we are here to help!