If you have completed the terms of your probation, or if probation is causing significant issues or obstacles in your life or employment, you might be able to terminate probation ahead of schedule.

In California, judges have the discretion to grant the early termination of probation in a criminal case. Additionally, in cases where probation is terminated early, the court may also reduce a conviction from a felony or misdemeanor or even expunge the defendant’s criminal record. A California criminal defense attorney can examine the details of your case to determine whether you might be able to end your probation early.   

How does early termination of probation work?

Penal Code 1203.3 PC grants courts the authority to revoke, modify, or change a person’s probation sentence at any time during the term of probation. That means that, if a judge determines that justice has been sufficiently served and the defendant has demonstrated good conduct and reform, they have the ability to terminate the defendant’s probation early. However, in most cases judges prefer that the defendant complete at least 12 to 18 months of probation before considering early termination.

When a judge does consider a case for early termination of probation, they ensure that these two criteria are met:

  1. The defendant has successfully completed the terms of their probation. That might include having paid fines, attended mandatory classes or other terms laid out in the sentencing.
  2. There are justifiable reasons to terminate the probation early. Reasons might include an inability to advance at work or secure gainful employment due to probation. 

What are the benefits of terminating my probation early?

Ending your probation early has two main benefits.

1. It eliminates the risk of a probation violation

While you’re on probation, the court can sentence you to time in jail or prison if you’re arrested for any crime regardless of whether or not you’re convicted.

If you’re charged with a probation violation you don’t have a right to a jury trial and could be sentenced by a judge at their discretion. Terminating your probation eliminates the possibility of facing probation violation charges or penalties. 

2. You can have your criminal record expunged sooner

One of the benefits of terminating your probation is the possibility of having your record expunged. Expungement clears the conviction from your record which can be significant in a number of circumstances like securing employment or housing. Depending on the details of your case, expungement might also allow you to restore your gun rights, or relieve you from mandatory sex-offender registration. The sooner your probation is terminated; the sooner you can apply for such additional relief. 

How do I have my probation terminated early?

California Penal Code 1203.3 PC grants a judge the authority to terminate a defendant’s probation early upon their request. In order to make a request to end your probation early, the flowing steps should be followed:

1. Hire an attorney

The first thing you need to do is find a California criminal defense attorney to represent you. A qualified attorney can file the necessary paperwork and present your case to the court in a manner that will secure the best possible outcome. 

2. Your attorney files a motion

Your attorney will file a motion for the early termination of probation with the court and prosecuting agency and requests a hearing. This motion must be filed at least two days before the date of the requested hearing.

3. Your attorney speaks to the prosecutor

Your attorney will make a case to the prosecutor for why your probation should be terminated early and will ask for them to support the motion.

4. The hearing is held

Whether or not your attendance at the hearing is required or suggested should be discussed with your attorney. In some cases, your attorney appears on your behalf, other times it might benefit you (or be required of you) to be present at the hearing.

Regardless, your case will be presented to the judge who will determine whether or not you are a good candidate for early termination of probation.

How does the court decide whether or not to terminate my probation early?

The two main factors that the court considers when determining whether to terminate a defendant’s probation early are “good conduct and reform” and the defendant’s circumstances and potential hardships.

1. Good conduct and reform

The court grants a request for early termination of probation if the defendant demonstrates “good conduct and reform.”  Most often, the court considers a defendant to show good conduct and reform if they

  • Have not been arrested for any other offenses
  • Demonstrate remorse for their past offense(s)
  • Have fulfilled the terms of their probation, which may include:
  • Paying fines or restitution
  • Completing community service or court ordered classes, such as DUI classes
  • Attending or completing counseling

2. Circumstances and hardships

When deciding whether to grant a motion for early termination of probation, the judge will consider the circumstances of the defendant’s record and conviction, including

  • The defendant’s criminal history and conduct
  • The severity of the offense 

The judge will also consider potential hardships that the defendant may be facing as a result of probation such as

  • Difficulty obtaining gainful employment or advancing at work
  • Inability to qualify for a loan
  • Inability to travel for necessary family or employment reasons

When can I request having my probation terminated?

While Penal Code 1203.3 PC grants judges the ability to terminate a person’s probation at any time during the probation’s term, they will most often grant probation termination after the defendant has completed some duration of their probation sentence. Early probation termination is typically granted after

  • At least one year of a probation sentence for a misdemeanor conviction
  • At lest 18 months of a probation sentence for a felony conviction

When a judge deems your early probation termination to be warranted will depend on your circumstances and the facts of your case. Your attorney can help you determine whether or not it is an appropriate time to file a motion. 

Can I get my criminal record expunged when I terminate my probation?

In most cases, you are eligible to have your criminal record expunged upon the completion or termination of your probation. Your defense attorney will likely petition for expungement at the same time that they file a motion to terminate your probation. If you were convicted of a felony, they may petition to have the charge reduced to a misdemeanor. If the motion for early termination of probation is granted, your record will most likely be expunged at the same time. 

However, you may not be eligible for expungement of your criminal record if either of the following apply:

  • You are currently serving a sentence or are on probation for another criminal offense
  • You are currently facing charges for another criminal offense

If your probation is having a negative impact on your personal, work, or family life or you’ve completed the terms of your probation, you might be eligible to end your probation early. As a California defense attorney with over 30 years of experience representing clients, I can guide you through the process of terminating your probation and having your criminal record expunged. You deserve a chance to move on with your life in a positive direction.

Call my firm today to schedule your free consultation – 800-834-6434. 

How does early termination of probation work?

Penal Code 1203.3 PC grants courts the authority to revoke, modify, or change a person’s probation sentence at any time during the term of probation. That means that, if a judge determines that justice has been sufficiently served and the defendant has demonstrated good conduct and reform, they have the ability to terminate the defendant’s probation early. However, in most cases judges prefer that the defendant complete at least 12 to 18 months of probation before considering early termination.

How do I have my probation terminated early?

California Penal Code 1203.3 PC grants a judge the authority to terminate a defendant’s probation early upon their request.

When can I request having my probation terminated?

While Penal Code 1203.3 PC grants judges the ability to terminate a person’s probation at any time during the probation’s term, they will most often grant probation termination after the defendant has completed some duration of their probation sentence. Early probation termination is typically granted after
At least one year of a probation sentence for a misdemeanor conviction
At lest 18 months of a probation sentence for a felony conviction
When a judge deems your early probation termination to be warranted will depend on your circumstances and the facts of your case. Your attorney can help you determine whether or not it is an appropriate time to file a motion.