Everybody who's on probation wants to get off probation. While better than jail or prison, probation still restricts your freedom to a certain degree. As well, if you are arrested for a new law violation while on probation, you can find yourself held in custody without a bond.
Florida law permits early termination at the discretion of the judge. Most often, if you've competed half of your probationary term, you may petition the court for early termination.
However, here are some factors the judge will consider:
First and foremost, what are you on probation for? A first-time offender on probation for grand theft will get off probation a lot easier than someone who's on probation for attempted murder.
Do you have priors? A first-time offender will have a better chance of early termination than somebody with a more extensive criminal history.
Have you violated probation during your term? If you have violated probation, chances are that the judge will not reward you with early termination.
Is your probation officer okay with early termination? While their recommendation is not binding on the court it is very persuasive.
Have you fulfilled all the conditions of your probation? Have you completed your classes or community service hours or any other special condition that you were ordered to complete? If you have outstanding conditions of probation you will not be granted early termination.
Lastly have you paid all fees and costs of supervision? Have you paid your restitution, if any was ordered? If you owe money your chances of early termination will be hurt.
So in conclusion, the best candidates for early termination are first-time offenders on probation for non-violent offenses, who have had no violations, have completed all conditions of probation, and have satisfied all of their monetary obligations.
Eric Matheny is a criminal attorney representing clients who are seeking early termination of probation in Miami-Dade and Broward.