Can I Get My Federal Probation Modified or Terminated Early?
If you have been placed on federal probation, a judge may modify or terminate a term of probation and discharge a defendant at any time after the expiration of one year of probation.
What Is Modification of Probation?
When a person is sentenced to probation the judge orders some general rules and some specific rules. Some general rules include not getting arrested and convicted of another offense while on probation. Some specific rules include no contact with a victim, restitution, and a limitation on travel. A judge may order someone or probation to attend drug or alcohol treatment. A judge can modify or change most of the rules. For example, a judge can change travel restrictions and allow someone on probation to travel outside of the original boundaries for business purposes, or for family and recreation-related reasons.
What Is Early Termination of Probation?
Probation is ordered for a specific number of months or years. Because probation is an alternative to prison, judges often sentence defendants to long periods of probation. A judge can modify or terminate a term of probation previously ordered and discharge the defendant at any time after the expiration of one year of probation if the judge is satisfied that the reduction is warranted by the conduct of the defendant. For example, a judge can reduce the number of years a defendant must be on probation or grant early termination of probation in cases where the defendant demonstrates changed circumstances, such as exceptionally good behavior.
What Are Some Good Reasons for Modification or Termination of Probation?
The criteria for modification or early termination include:
- law-abiding behavior;
- compliance with the conditions of supervision, and
- a responsible, productive lifestyle.
What Is Law-Abiding Behavior?
A defendant must comply with all laws in order to be eligible for a modification or early termination. For example, a defendant should not get caught with a bag of weed or an open container of alcohol in the car. A defendant should not get arrested or convicted of anything while on probation. A defendant should obey all traffic laws and not drive while intoxicated. A law-abiding defendant is more likely to be granted a modification or early termination than someone who is not.
What Is Compliance With Conditions of Supervision?
A defendant must comply with all rules, regulations, and conditions of probation. For example, a defendant must complete drug treatment or other programs and report on time. A defendant must keep a full-time job, pay any special assessments and fines, and comply with forfeiture orders. A defendant should not test positive for drugs while under supervision. A defendant who knows the rules and follows them will have a better chance of modification or early termination.
What Is a Responsible, Productive Lifestyle?
Modification or early termination is justified when a defendant is a responsible, productive member of society. For example, keeping a good job, paying taxes, getting married, having children, purchasing a home, and living a good clean lifestyle are reasons for modification or early termination. A defendant may attend religious services and do volunteer work. Helping others is a sign of changed circumstances and exceptionally good behavior. Good conduct and having a good relationship with your probation officer is very productive. After a judge receives a request for modification or termination, he will review the request and make a decision based on the facts and circumstances of your case. Law-abiding behavior, compliance with the terms of supervision, and a responsible, productive lifestyle will all work in your favor.
Do You or Someone You Know Need Help With Modification or Termination of Federal Probation?
If you or someone you know has been placed on federal probation and would like to get your probation modified or terminated early it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. It is critical that you get help because modifications and early termination are complex issues that require the help of someone with experience.