Posted on March 11, 2017

Early Termination of Probation | California Penal Code 1203.3

Early termination of probation is available to anyone placed on probation. When someone is convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in California, a viable and common sentence consists of a term of probation. Prior to ruling on a petition, the judge will consider several factors – e.g., whether you suffered any probation violations, the planning and/or sophistication of your offense, whether the victim suffered bodily injury, and your prior criminal history.

The reason you’re placed on probation is so that the court retains jurisdiction over your case to enforce the conditions of your sentence. Ordinarily, when convicted of a misdemeanor, you are placed on summary probation. However, a felony conviction carries formal probation where you are typically required to check-in monthly with your probation officer and be subjected to random home searches.

You may seek to end probation early, but the court will balance the factors described above. It is important to retain a respected and experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer to handle your probation petition. In many cases, having your attorney know the judges and/or prosecutors will help because it lends your representations with credibility often leading the prosecutor to have no objection. Orange County has a very conservative court system which is why it’s important to obtain a skilled attorney who knows what they’re doing and present the best arguments in your favor.

What is the Process to Terminate Probation Early?

The process entails filing a memorandum of points and authorities under Penal Code 1203.3 with the court outlining the applicable law and reasons for termination.[1] A hearing will be held and the judge will hear arguments from both the defense and the district attorney. At the conclusion, the court will either grant or deny the request. In determining whether terminating probation early is appropriate, the judge is accorded with wide latitude. Typically, submitting character letters, certificates, and awards are helpful to convince the court you’re a changed person since your offense. In extraordinary circumstances, the court may require your probation officer to attend the hearing.

Prerequisites Before Terminating Probation

The court may allow you to be discharged from probation before the full term is complete, if the court determines that continued supervision is no longer necessary. Prior to ruling on a request, the following must be satisfied or your petition will be denied.

  • At least half your probation period is completed. This is not statutorily required but most judges require it.
  • All terms and conditions of your sentence. This includes community service, counseling classes, and fine payments.
  • No be on probation for any offense, including in another county or state.
  • You cannot have any pending case currently against you.

Legitimate Reasons to Convince the Judge

It is important to put forth a legitimate reason to terminate probation early. Representations of “I just don’t want to be on probation anymore” will never persuade the judge to terminate probation. There are several reasons our clients seek to terminate probation, employment being the most common. Others include:

  • Immigration,
  • Child Custody,
  • Professional Licensing,
  • Military Duty,

Contact Us to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you are presently on probation in Orange County and you’re seeking to discharge early, contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney to discuss your options. Our legal team at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers is available for immediate free consultations and we look forward in speaking with you. Also ask about obtaining an expungement and reducing a felony to a misdemeanor.



Legal References:

[1] (a) The court shall have authority at any time during the term of probation to revoke, modify, or change its order of suspension of imposition or execution of sentence.  The court may at any time when the ends of justice will be subserved thereby, and when the good conduct and reform of the person so held on probation shall warrant it, terminate the period of probation, and discharge the person so held.  The court shall also have the authority at any time during the term of mandatory supervision pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (5) of subdivision (h) of Section 1170 to revoke, modify, or change the conditions of the court’s order suspending the execution of the concluding portion of the supervised person’s term. – See more at:

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