Early Termination of Probation: The Process

Each state has its own requirements that must be met before granting early termination of probation. In general, to begin the process you must contact your PO or a criminal defense attorney to inquire about the procedures are in your state. In many states, the usual process is to file a motion with the court in which you were convicted, requesting early termination of probation. In some jurisdictions, writing a letter that clearly outlines the reasons you feel you qualify for early termination of probation, along with your PO's recommendation, is usually enough to convince a judge to grant your request.

While every case is different, the courts usually consider several factors during the decision-making process. First, the court will check to find out whether or not you have paid all fines and restitution and whether you have completed all counseling requirements such as anger-management or drug/alcohol treatment. The courts will also evaluate whether or not you have complied with any other terms that may have been mandated at the time of your conviction. If you have violated any terms of probation, this will also affect the court's decision.

In addition to the factors listed above, the court may also consider any "self-help" efforts made while you were on probation. For example, did you seek employment? If so, did you maintain it? Did you go back to school to earn a degree or complete other specialized training? Did you engage in any meaningful volunteer work?

The court will also consider any hardships suffered or any restrictions imposed on you as a result of being on active probation. For example, did you suffer a job loss or loss of promotion at work? Were any travel restrictions imposed on you? Did probation affect your ability to pass a background check? Did you lose any benefits as a result of probation?

Before attempting to appeal to the court, you must check to make sure you have completed at least half of your probation period. Most courts will not hear a motion for early termination if you have not completed at least half of your probation sentence

Applying for early termination of probation can be an arduous process. You may attempt to complete the process on your own, but having a skilled and experienced lawyer on your side is never a bad idea.