Posted on July 8, 2016

Terminating Probation Early | Los Angeles | PC 1203.3

Terminating probation is applicable to both felony and misdemeanor cases.  The process entails filing a motion made under PC 1203.3(a) to terminate probation with the sentencing court outlining the reason(s) why the petitioner should be granted relief.[1]  It’s a discretionary motion where the judge is given wide latitude to deny or grant the motion.

The court places a defendant on probation for the purposes of retaining jurisdiction.  Moreover, if a defendant were to avoid a probation sentence, the court would lose the ability to impose court ordered obligations.  Additionally, from the courts perspective, probation is the period where a defendant reflects on their crime and moves towards rehabilitating themselves.  Therefore, petitioning for early termination of probation requires proof that a person has been fully rehabilitated and will remain law-abiding after probation is terminated.

Those seeking to terminate probation in Los Angeles may also be interested in reducing a felony to a misdemeanor, expungement, or petitioning for a certificate of rehabilitation.  In many instances, these post-conviction remedies can all be done in a single hearing.

WHAT ARE THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS?

  • Courts generally require at least half of the probation period to be completed
  • The petitioner completed all their court ordered obligations
  • Petitioner paid all outstanding fine & fees and fully paid restitution
  • Petitioner has no pending cases currently against them

WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR TERMINATING PROBATION EARLY?

The process begins with submitting a motion to terminate probation along with a memorandum of points and authorities.  The memorandum should include the updated law and include the reason(s) why the motion should be granted.  In addition, it may also be helpful to include character letters, awards, and certificates of achievement which will all help reflect that a petitioner has substantially changed since their offense.  The compiled motion is then filed in the sentencing court where a hearing will be held.  The prosecuting agency must be served with a copy of the motion and allowed an opportunity to contest the petition.  At the hearing, both parties will present their arguments before the judge who will thereafter render a decision.  If the judge grants a motion to terminate, then probation is terminated forthwith.

WHAT FACTORS WILL THE JUDGE CONSIDER?

  • Petitioner’s prior criminal record
  • The planning and sophistication of the offense
  • Whether the petitioner suffered any probation violations
  • Whether the petitioner has demonstrated moral reform
  • Whether the petitioner accepted early responsibility for their crime
  • Petitioners likelihood of re-offending
  • Petitioner’s relationship with their probation officer
  • Any recommendation from the probation department
  • Whether the petitioner poses a danger to society

WHAT ARE VALID REASONS FOR SEEKING EARLY TERMINATION OF PROBATION?

  • Child Custody or Adopting a Child
  • Military Duty
  • Obtaining Employment
  • Moving out of the United States
  • S. Citizenship / Immigration
  • Obtaining State Licensing
  • Applying for Higher Education

WHAT SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO THE JUDGE?

  • Character Letters
  • Letter from Psychologist
  • Awards and/or Certificate(s) of Achievement
  • School Transcript(s) / GPA
  • Any documentation to help show the judge who you are

EXPUNGING YOUR RECORD

Expungement

If the judge grants a petition to terminate probation, it’s common for petitioners to immediately seek an expungement.  Once probation terminates, a defendant is entitled to seek an expungement.  Obtaining such a remedies requires filing a specific petition requesting the conviction be dismissed under Penal Code 1203.4.[2]  If the court grants your petition, the conviction will be set aside and thereafter dismissed.  Most petitioners seek this remedy because of the benefits it carries when applying for employment in the private sector.

CALL US FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

contact us

If you’re seeking to terminate probation early then it’s important to retain a skilled Criminal Defense Attorney familiar with the procedure and even particular judge.  A petition should be carefully submitted that would help appeal to the judge in effort to terminate probation.  Therefore, contact the Law Offices of John D. Rogers for a free consultation.  We handle probation termination petitions all throughout southern California and we’re familiar with each courthouse.  Our office can tell you just over the telephone if you have a viable argument to terminate probation.

 

 

LEGAL FOOTNOTES:

[1] California Penal Code 1203.3(a) states “(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.”

[2] California Penal Code 1203.4(a)(1) provides “In any case in which a defendant has fulfilled the conditions of probation for the entire period of probation, or has been discharged prior to the termination of the period of probation, or in any other case in which a court, in its discretion and the interests of justice, determines that a defendant should be granted the relief available under this section, the defendant shall, at any time after the termination of the period of probation, if he or she is not then serving a sentence for any offense, on probation for any offense, or charged with the commission of any offense, be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty; or, if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and, in either case, the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant and except as noted below, he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted, except as provided in Section 13555 of the Vehicle Code. The probationer shall be informed, in his or her probation papers, of this right and privilege and his or her right, if any, to petition for a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon. The probationer may make the application and change of plea in person or by attorney, or by the probation officer authorized in writing. However, in any subsequent prosecution of the defendant for any other offense, the prior conviction may be pleaded and proved and shall have the same effect as if probation had not been granted or the accusation or information dismissed. The order shall state, and the probationer shall be informed, that the order does not relieve him or her of the obligation to disclose the conviction in response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery Commission.”

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