If you have been sentenced to probation in Texas, you may be eligible to have your probation terminated early. As anyone on probation knows, being on probation can be time-consuming, expensive, intrusive, and also place restrictions on travel that can greatly impact your personal and professional life. In order to put a criminal offense behind you after being sentenced to probation, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney about whether you might be eligible for early termination of your probation. In many cases, a criminal defense attorney can help you terminate your probation months or years before your scheduled end date.
To ask for early termination of probation in Texas, typically a criminal defense attorney will verify with the client and probation department that all requirements of the probation have been met, and file a motion with the judge, asking that the defendant be early terminated from probation. Early terminating a defendant is discretionary with the judge, and many judges won’t consider early termination until at least half of the term of probation has been completed (and many will not consider it at all). At the time of entering the plea, it is a good idea for a criminal defense attorney to ask the judge whether she would consider early termination, and if so, at what point. Once a judge signs a motion for early termination, a defendant’s probation is finished and they no longer have to comply with any term of probation, including reporting requirements and restrictions on travel. In other words, once a motion for early termination is signed in Texas, probation is over.
There are some limitations on early termination appliable to those sentenced to a deferred adjudication probation and to those sentenced to a regular probation. Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42A.111, a judge can early terminate a defendant sentenced to a deferred adjudication probation at any time, except the judge may never early terminate a defendant charged with a sex crime requiring sex offender registration. Also, as noted above, even though a judge may grant a motion for early termination at any time, the judge will typically want a defendant to wait until at least half the term of probation has been completed.
If you are sentenced to regular probation (not a deferred adjudication probation), under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42A.701, you must wait at until at least one-third of the probationary period has passed, or two years (whichever is less), before a judge can consider early termination. If you are sentenced to a term of regular probation, you may not be early terminated if you are charged with many intoxication-related offenses, including Driving While Intoxicated, Flying While Intoxicated, Boating While Intoxicated, Intoxication Assault and Intoxication Manslaughter. Additionally, you may not receive early termination if you are on regular probation for an offense requiring sex offender registration or one of the serious offenses listed in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42A.054, which includes offenses like murder, burglary and many sex crimes.
Once a criminal defense attorney verifies your eligibility for early termination, he can contact your probation officer to verify compliance with all of the terms of your probation, draft and file a motion that the judge will sign and schedule a time to speak to the judge. In many cases, it will be possible for a criminal defense attorney to find out what the judge’s policy is on early termination before filing a motion. Also, a judge will sometimes ask the prosecutor her position regarding early termination of probation and it can be helpful for a criminal defense attorney to get the prosecutor’s approval. The possibility of being early terminated on probation is one reason why it is important to complete the terms of your probation early and avoid violating your probation. Your probation officer will often have influence over the judge’s decision as to whether to early terminate you and probation officers are more likely to want to help you if you have been a good probationer.
If you are interested in seeing if you are eligible to have your probation terminated early anywhere in the Greater Houston area, contact Ceja Law Firm today for a free consultation. Mr. Ceja is a former prosecutor who has helped countless defendants terminate their probation early. Mr. Ceja can help you understand whether you are eligible and how likely it is that you can be early terminated.