The criminal justice system is supposed to find, convict and rehabilitate individuals who have committed crimes. If you have been put on probation, you know the “rehabilitate” element of this trifecta is questionable at best. Most parole officers seem to view the probation process as a 24/7 game where they attempt to try to catch you doing even the smallest thing that would violate you probation and get you sent to jail. It can feel like you are being hunted every hour of the day and that is a terrible way to live.
The good news in California is the powers that be have recognized the system is broken. They’ve attempted to fix it with a hodge podge of regulations, new laws and court decisions, all of which have combined to more or less create one giant mess that works for nobody be it prosecutors, defense lawyers, judges or the accused. Having said this, there is one positive twist that can be a huge boon to someone on probation. We’ve developed a method for seeking the early termination of probation that judges are very receptive to. Just imagine the joy of telling your probation officer to go pound sand!
The key to the process is to make a petition to the criminal court under section 1203.3 of the California penal code. This section gives the judge the leeway to use his or her discretion in determining whether the probation served by a individual is causing undue negative effects on their ability to be a productive member of society. If the judge determines this is the case, the probationary period is terminated. As you can imagine, it is critical that you have counsel that is adapt and experienced at convincing the judge in your case that society would be best served if your probation was ended. Having said that, there are a few hard rules that must be complied with as well:
- You need to have served a good bit of time on your probation. If you’ve been given 3 years of probation, we recommend that at least 15 months have passed on a misdemeanor conviction and 20 months on a felony conviction. The judge is not going to be receptive to a petitioner [you] who hasn’t done at least half of their ordered probation in most cases.
- You need to have served your probation without any violations of the terms set down for it. This is important because it shows an individual who is working to comply with the rules and regulations of society, even if they are rather odorous in the probation process.
- You must have complied with all other requirements set down by the judge in your original sentencing. If fines were levied, you need to have paid them. If anger management classes were ordered, you need to have completed them and so on.
- Finally, it goes without saying that you need to have kept your nose clean since the conviction. Any additional charges for other crimes will sink your petition before it even gets to the judge’s desk.
The judge in your case will then use their discretion to determine if the probation is standing in the way of you becoming a productive member of society. You can expect a lawyer from the district attorneys’ office to argue that you should serve the full term for your crime, and our office will move to aggressively counter such arguments. Ultimately, the judge will make a determination by considering the argument and evidence presented as well as three more sublime factors.
The first is how serious is the underlying crime? The more serious, the less chance there is of probation be quashed. The second is the extent of your criminal record. If this was a one time event, then the judge is going to be more receptive to terminating probation. If this is your 20th offensive, we are going to have problems. The third factor is whether the probation is inhibiting your return to being a fully functioning member of society. For instance, is it keeping you from getting a job to provide for your kids? As you can imagine, this is an area we focus on when presenting your case to the judge.
Ultimately, the judge will rule based on how they are swayed by legal counsel. The D.A. will usually do everything in their power to fight the petition, which is why you need experienced, talented counsel on your side. If you are sick and tired of being treated like some kind of hunting game by your probation officer, contact us today at 800-628-0285 to determine if you are a candidate for early termination of probation.