So you want to terminate your probation early?
In many cases getting a probation sentence can be a great resolution to a case – sure beats doing jail time. But that doesn’t mean that probation is easy, fun, and that people don’t mind having to report every month. Probation is a difficult thing to complete, no matter who you are. However, if you are able to complete all of your conditions and stay out of trouble you may be able to terminate your probation early.P
Florida Statute 948.05 gives a trial judge the legal ability to terminate your probation at any time. Sometimes a plea agreement may say that the defendant may not terminate probation early. This is an example of an illegal probation condition. The state and defendant cannot take away the power of a judge to terminate probation early if they choose to.
While the judges do have the right to terminate probation early, do not expect them to do it just because you ask them to. Based upon my experience, here in the First Circuit of Florida a judge will not usually consider a motion to early terminate probation until at least half of the probation has been completed. In addition to making it through at least half the time you are on probation, the judge is going to want you to have completed all the conditions of your probation, including paying off all of your fines and court costs.
Applying for early termination of probation is almost always a good idea. If the judge grants it then you are free from the system. If you are still on probation, even if you’ve completed all your requirements, and violate in a minor way or get arrest for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, odds are a warrant is going to go out for your arrest. Long story short, if you have completed all the conditions of your probation then you should apply for early termination.
You can file the motion to terminate probation on your own, which is known as pro se. In some places the probation officer may actually file it for you. However, there can be benefits to hiring an attorney to file your motion. Lawyers typically charge a very low fee to file these motions. They may be able to get you a hearing quicker than you could on your own, which is a good thing. Lawyers who regularly appear before a judge may have a better chance at explaining and making your case in a way the judge will appreciate. At the end of the day, hiring an attorney to file a motion to early terminate probation will usually be far cheaper than completing the remainder of your sentence.
Give my office a call to discuss whether it makes sense to try to early terminate your probation.