This discussion explores early termination of probation in Los Angeles Criminal Courts. The starting point is determining the status of your probation case. Realistically, you will need to be in good graces with the Los Angeles Court system for a judge to give genuine consideration to terminate your probation early. Thus, if you have a warrant, have not completed your requirements, or have recently violated probation, you are not at point where a judge will realistically grant a Penal Code section 1203.3 motion to end your probation early.
So, how do I know if I may be eligible to apply for early probation termination?
If you have been placed on formal or summary (informal) probation, the judge has assigned you specific terms to complete. These conditions likely include community service or jail, fines, fees, restitution, counseling or classes, as well as obeying all laws and orders of the court. If you have kept up your end of the bargain for a substantial period of the probation, completed the substantive terms, and paid all restitution, you may be a good candidate for a motion to terminate probation pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.3. If you are on probation it is strongly advisable for you to speak to a probation attorney for specific advice.
What does a judge consider when evaluating a motion to terminate probation?
Penal Code section 1203.3 gives judges in Los Angeles County inherent powers to modify a sentence of probation when it would serve “the ends of justice” to do so. While Penal Code section 1203.3 judicial authority has been somewhat limited in cases involving modification of a “material provision” of a plea agreement, including jail sentences (See, People v. Segura (2008) 44 Cal. 4th 921), there still appears to be discretion for judges to modify and/or terminate probation early for good conduct.
In my experience, the best candidate for early termination is someone who has performed well on probation, completed the specific terms ordered (work, fines, programs, etc), and has displayed rehabilitation since the conviction. A strong candidate will likely be working or volunteering in the community, and/or pursuing a high school diploma or college degree. Basically, a judge will favor granting this motion if there is strong evidence of rehabilitation, and greater future opportunity for upward mobility.
What types of future opportunity are judges willing to evaluate when considering early termination?
During the last few years, judges appear to be amenable in modifying or terminating probation when substantial harm can be shown if probation was to continue. For example, where probation has been successfully completed through the halfway point and the probation case is preventing further rehabilitation of the defendant, (i.e., causing denial of employment or denial of educational opportunities) Los Angeles judges appear to be amenable to granting this motion.
A final point about early termination of probation for “good behavior” is that if a judge grants this motion, you are then likely eligible for expungement, which can provide tremendous additional benefits.
Copyright © 2016-7 Law Offices of George Kita. All Rights Reserved