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Early Termination of Probation

You can apply for early determination of probation in Florida so long as you meet certain eligibility requirements. Benefits of early termination of probation include:

  • No longer required to pay monthly supervision fee costs;
  • No longer required to attend classes;
  • No longer confined to a specific place or city;
  • No longer required to submit to random drug and/ or alcohol testing;
  • No longer beholden to other probation requirements.

At The Ansara Law Firm, our probation attorneys in Fort Lauderdale understand your criminal conviction likely had a major impact on your life. Probation further inhibits your freedoms, impinging on your schedule, your employment, your finances and your relationships. In some circumstances, it may be possible to apply for early termination of probation. We can help.

What is Probation?

Probation is sometimes referred to as “community supervision.” It is overseen by officers of the state, and imposes conditions on a convicted offender immediately upon conviction or after release.

As outlined in F.S. 948.03, the judge has a wide berth of discretion in deciding the terms of your probation. Conditions may include (but are not limited to):

  • Reporting to a probation officer in regular intervals;
  • Allowing a probation officer to visit you at home, work or elsewhere;
  • Working regularly in “suitable” employment, or else making a good faith effort to obtain employment;
  • Staying within a specified space or region;
  • Not being arrested or violating the law (conviction isn’t necessary to prove a violation);
  • Making restitution to the alleged victim;
  • Supporting legal dependents;
  • Prohibition from carrying a firearm without approval from your probation officer;
  • Avoid association with individuals engaged in criminal activities.

These terms are often heavily restrictive, and can leave you with a looming sense of dread for fear of even the most minor violation, which could send you back behind bars.

It is generally in your best interest to seek early termination of probation where applicable.

Who is Eligible for Early Termination of Probation?

Early termination of probation is when you seek – and are granted – a release from the terms and conditions of your probation, as previously issued by the court.

While early termination of probation can be issued at any time, as a practical matter, most judges won’t allow early termination of probation until you have served at least half of the probationary period. We should not; the court is never required to release you from probation, and it’s solely within the judge’s discretion to approve or deny your request. That’s why it’s imperative to have an experienced Fort Lauderdale probation attorney who can help you make a strong case. We understand what judges will be considering when weighing whether to grant or deny your petition.

Most probation won’t exceed two years, unless otherwise specified by the court, or in cases where a defendant receives a “split sentence” (defendant is given a prison sentence, with some part of the latter of that time being served on probation or community control).

F.S. 948.04 allows for early termination of probation for certain offenders. Those who have been found guilty of felonies under Florida Statutes Chapter 794 (sexual battery) and Chapter 827 (abuse of children) are NOT eligible for early termination of probation.

The terms under which one can be granted early termination include:

Has satisfactorily performed the terms and conditions of probation thus far;

  • Has not been found in violation of any terms or conditions;
  • Has met all financial sanctions imposed by the court (including fines, court costs and restitution).

Under these circumstances, the Florida Department of Corrections can recommend early termination of probation at any point prior to the scheduled termination date.

Further, F.S. 948.05 allows the court to compel a probationer to appear in court to be commended and, if satisfied that such action is in the best interests of societal welfare and justice, can discharge the probationer from further supervision.

Filing a Motion for Early Termination of Probation

Your request for early termination of probation will be made in the form of a “motion.” These motions generally include (at minimum):

  • Details of completion of all conditions of probation;
  • Proof that all fines, court costs and restitution has been paid;
  • Evidence the defendant has not reoffended or had any contact with law enforcement;
  • Other circumstances that may convince a judge there is no need to continue community supervision (i.e., enrolling in or graduating from college, maintaining steady employment, or other positive achievements).

Bear in mind: The judge is not required to grant your request. Having a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale who can help present your argument to the court and underscore your positive trajectory and societal contributions is extremely beneficial.

For information on filing for early termination of probation in Florida, contact the Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyers at The Ansara Law Firm by calling (954) 761-4011.

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