Many criminal cases end up with a probation sentence instead of jail. While clients are often relieved to avoid jail at first, probation can become a big interference with normal life. Probation officers can require regular check-ins, surprise home visits, and other conditions to remain compliant with court ordered probation.
In addition to the required activities to comply with probation, a case is not officially closed until probation ends. This means that if an employer runs a background check while you are on probation, the case status will show as “open” or “pending.”
The good news is that there is a way to end probation early, by way of a motion to terminate probation early. This can be done in either state or federal court. In federal court, you need to wait until you have successfully completed probation or supervised release for at least one year before applying to terminate probation early. State court requirements differ by jurisdiction.
A criminal defense attorney can help you to decide if you are a good candidate to pursue a motion to terminate probation early. Some helpful factors can include the length of time you have successfully complied with the terms of probation thus far, your relationship with your probation officer, and the progress you have made while on probation. For example, if you are on probation for drugs or alcohol, it can be helpful to show the judge that you have engaged with treatment and drug testing for a significant period of time. If you have a mental health condition that led to your charges, a letter from your therapist or other treatment provider can be helpful in convincing a judge that your probation should be terminated early.
If you have any outstanding probation fees or court fines, you should pay them off before filing a motion for early probation termination. A few character letters can be beneficial, too.
Generally after putting together your supporting documents, letters, and motion to terminate probation early, your lawyer will submit everything as a packet. As the attorneys at Simons Law Office can explain, the lawyer will have to submit the original to the court, and copies to the probation officer and to the prosecutor. The court will generally schedule a hearing before issuing a decision on the motion. Make sure to show up early for your hearing, and wear a professional looking outfit.
When you are looking to terminate probation early, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you strategize and put together the best argument on your behalf.