September 10, 2013 • Jerod Gunsberg, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer
Looking to terminate your probation early in a Los Angeles County court or anywhere California? Under Penal Code Section 1203.3, you can petition the court to do just that. Getting the court to grant the early termination is a whole other story. Before I agree to take any money from someone in exchange for helping with this, here are the five big issues that need to be discussed.
1) ARE YOU ON FORMAL OR INFORMAL PROBATION? Were you convicted of a felony and currently reporting to a probation officer or, at the minimum, checking into a kiosk every month? Or are were you convicted of a misdemeanor and just given certain terms and conditions to follow? Early termination of felony probation can be much more difficult to terminate early than misdemeanor probation. It’s often possible to convince a judge and prosecutor to allow reporting probation to be converted to non-reporting probation, but that depends on some of the factors detailed below.
2) HAVE YOU COMPLETED ALL THE MATERIAL REQUIREMENTS OF PROBATION? Have you completed all your community service or community labor? Have you paid all the fines, court fees, court costs, probation costs, and restitution? If you have not completed and paid EVERYTHING, there’s zero chance any judge will allow you to terminate early and zero chance that a prosecutor will agree to it.
3) HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN ON PROBATION? Your chances are best when you’re almost done. But my general rule of thumb is that unless there is some extenuating circumstances, it is not worth trying to terminate early until you are at least halfway through the probationary period.
4) WHICH COURTHOUSE ARE YOU IN? Every courthouse in Los Angeles and every judge within every courthouse has a different policy and approach to early termination of probation. Airport Courthouse deals with it very different than judges at the Foltz Justice Center who deal with it differently than the Van Nuys Courthouse. If probation was granted pursuant to a plea agreement with the prosecutor, some judges won’t grant the early termination unless the prosecutor is on board. Some judge will do it if they feel that it is in the “interests of justice” per the language of the statute. Others will only do it if there is a compelling reason.
5) WHY DO YOU NEED YOUR PROBATION TERMINATED EARLY? No matter what the circumstances, you need a good reason. Your lawyer can’t just tell the judge that you don’t want to be on probation anymore. Nobody wants to be on probation. Better are reasons are serious impediments to employment and/or education, moving to another country or state, and child custody issues. All of this will need to be supported with documentation, declarations and letters. In other words, your lawyer has to prove it.
Bottom line: If you or a loved one are looking to have your probation terminated early, call me, Jerod Gunsberg. I’m an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney and can help you decide if this is worth pursuing. I can be reached for a free consultation at (310) 210-0744 or you can use this confidential email contact form.