For felony cases, probationary periods can range anywhere from 6 months, all the way up to life. For 3rd-degree felonies, such as grand theft and burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, the period of time can go all the way up to 5 years. The period of probation cannot exceed the statutory maximum for a charge. For a 2nd-degree felony, such as aggravated battery, the judge can impose a 15-year period of probation. For a 1st-degree felony, the judge can impose a 30-year term. For a life felony, the judge can put you on probation for life.
Probation almost always comes with conditions. Aside from not getting re-arrested, the terms of your probation will dictate what you have to do. Many times it may be the successful completion of a class, such as anger management, theft class, or drug and alcohol education. You may also be ordered to complete a certain number of community service hours. If there are allegations of stolen or damaged property, or medical bills as a result of an injury, you will be ordered to pay restitution.
If you fail to complete your conditions, you will be facing a probation violation. However, if you are compliant with the terms of your probation and finish them before your term of probation expires, you may want to ask the court for early termination.
Early termination from probation means exactly that: your probationary term is ended early due to your compliance. It is up to the judge whether to terminate your probation before the scheduled end date. And if you accepted a plea bargain where the State offered probation in lieu of jail or prison, you may need to check the court record to see if early termination was a part of the plea agreement. If it wasn't, the State Attorney's Office will object.
However, the ultimate authority with regard to probation is the judge. He or she will determine how long you have been on probation, whether you have had any previous probation violations, and whether you completed all of your conditions and paid all of your costs.
In determining how long you have been on probation, the judge will want to know how much of your term you have completed. If you are asking for early termination after 6 months of a 5-year probation term, the judge will likely deny the request because you simply haven't done enough time. However, if you have completed 18 months of a 2-year probation term, it is likely that the judge will grant your request for early termination. You must complete a substantial amount (at least half) of your probation. That is not etched in stone but based on my experience, that seems to be the threshhold.
If you have violated probation previously, the judge is more likely to make you complete the full term. Remember, early termination is a reward for good behavior. If you have been on probation for 2 years and have already violated and reinstated twice, the judge is less likely to reward you.
Finally, the court will look to see if you completed all conditions and paid all costs, fines, fees, and restitution (if any). If you have not completed conditions or still owe money, the court will deny. No questions asked.
I practice criminal defense in Miami-Dade and Broward. I assist my clients in getting early termination on their probation whenever possible. Early termination permits you to be out from under the restrictions of probation. While probation is better than jail or prison, it is still a judicial sentence. Something as simple as forgetting to call your probation officer can land you in jail. Wouldn't it be nice not to have to worry about getting violated anymore?