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Early Termination of Probation

Early Termination of Probation

If you have been convicted of a crime in Florida, there is a chance that you will be released on probation or granted probation as part of your sentence.

According to the Leon County Probation office, a probation period begins the day a defendant accepts a plea deal. Once a plea deal is accepted, the probation officer will provide the specific terms and period of completing such conditions. While some may see probation as a blessing, it can also subject you to more legal issues down the line.

Probation often has extremely strict and specific conditions, and a probationer who fails to meet all conditions may be accused of a violation of probation (VOP). A defendant facing a VOP may face harsher consequences and potentially even the original sentence for the crime they were originally convicted of.

Offenders who are released on, or sentenced to probation may wish to file a petition to terminate their probation early. An early termination of probation can be granted to anyone if they meet certain eligibility requirements.

The benefits of terminating probation early include no longer being required to pay the monthly cost of supervision fees, attend classes, be confined within a specified place or region, submit to random drug or alcohol testing, or any other provisions of probation that may be required.

This page will focus on early termination of probation, providing legal definitions and explaining the process of filing for early termination of probation in Florida.

Tallahassee Early Probation Termination Lawyer

If you are currently serving probation in the Florida Panhandle, an experienced Leon County defense attorney can analyze the facts of your case and can help you apply for early termination of probation. The attorneys at Pumphrey Law are familiar with Florida law and can help you achieve the best possible outcome in your situation. If you want to apply for early termination of probation in Florida, contact the firm today for a free consultation about your case.

Florida Probation Information Center

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What is Probation?

Probation is a court-imposed sentence where a convicted criminal defendant is released into the community rather than being confined in a jail or prison. To obtain probation in Florida, a convicted individual is subjected to specific conditions and restrictions.

A “correctional probation officer” is defined under Florida Statute Section 943.10 as the person employed by the state, whose primary responsibility is the supervised custody, surveillance, and control of assigned inmates, probationers, parolees, or community controlees within the institutions of the Florida Department of Corrections.

Florida Statute Section 948.05 provides the instructions and process for probationers or offenders in community control. Florida courts are authorized at any time to bring the probationer or community controlee to appear in court to be admonished or commended (punished or rewarded). The law states “when satisfied that its actions will be for the best interests of justice and the welfare of society, it may discharge the probationer or offender from further supervision.” Florida Statute Section 948.05(2)(b) lists the incentives for positive behavior and compliance with recommendations to the court to modify the terms of supervision, including:

  • Permission to travel;
  • Reduction of supervision type;
  • Modification or removal of curfew;
  • Reduction or removal of substance abuse testing; or
  • Early termination of supervision.

Eligibility for Early Termination of Probation

Most defendants placed on probation are eligible for early termination; however, to achieve the most desirable outcome, there are several factors to consider that will increase your chances of a judge agreeing to terminate your probation.

Florida Statute Section 948.04 explains that defendants who are found guilty of felonies and are placed on probation shall be under supervision for no longer than two years, unless otherwise specified by the court. Typically, termination of probation will take place on its own after the period of probation is up if the probationer has followed all terms and conditions in their agreed-upon probation.

However, Florida Statute Section 948.04(3) provides that if the probationer has performed satisfactorily, has not been found in violation of any of the terms of conditions, has met all fines, court costs, and restitution, then the Department of Corrections may recommend the early termination of probation at any time before the scheduled termination date.

Defendants sentenced to probation on or after October 1, 2019, may be eligible for early termination of probation, once the probationer or their probation officer files such motion, and indicates they have completed the following requirements:

  • Serving at least half of your probationary period before filing a petition to terminate;
  • Meeting all financial requirements, such as paying fines and court costs;
  • Completing all specific requirements to your probation, such as classes or counseling;
  • Finishing community service hours;
  • No parties specifically excluded the possibility of early termination; and
  • The probationer does not qualify as a violent felony offender.

Special conditions of probation will be different for everyone. It’s also important to remember that early termination of probation is a discretionary act. That means it is up to the judge to decide whether the probationer will have the terms of their probation ended early. A court does not have to grant you early termination for simply asking. This is why having an attorney on your side is beneficial to ensure all necessary requirements have been met. If you have any questions about the conditions of your probation, contact a defense attorney in your area.

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How to File for Early Termination of Probation

A probationer who has fulfilled their court-ordered obligations for probation may be eligible for early termination. While the court may “at any time” bring a probationer to court to potentially terminate or modify their probation, the court will often consider it once the probationer has completed at least half of their term (for example, a probationer sentenced to two years of probation may be eligible for early termination at one year).

Any probationer who wishes to terminate their probation early must file a Motion to Terminate Probation Early. This type of motion can be filed by the probationer’s attorney on their behalf. The motion includes the probationer’s name, case number, and the division of the underlying offense. The motion will also have a Proposed Order for the judge to sign if your motion is granted. The motion will be filed with the Leon County Clerk’s office, or the clerk’s office for the county where the sentencing took place. A copy of the motion will also be sent to the state attorney’s office, along with a copy to the probation officer. Once the motion has been filed, a hearing date will be set. The probationer’s attorney will file and serve a Notice of Hearing with the State’s Attorney’s office and the probation officer.

Steps a probationer should take when seeking to end their probation early include:

  • Consult with the probation officer – Any probationer who wishes to end their probation early must first consult with their probation officer. Since the probation officer will already have all the probationer’s case details, they can provide helpful information on the probationer’s eligibility and steps to take to obtain early termination. The probation officer’s support and recommendation for early termination is extremely vital when presenting your case to court.
  • Collect all documentation – Part of receiving early termination of probation is proving that all conditions of the agreed-upon plea deal are satisfied. To do this, the probation should gather all relative documents pertaining to their case. This can include the proof of fines and restitution being paid, completion certificates from court-ordered classes and programs, and records of employment or efforts of seeking employment.
  • Hire an attorney experienced with early termination of probation – Once the probationer has established their desire to end their probation early, this is the stage where hiring an experienced defense attorney will help. An attorney can aid with filing the early termination motion, setting the hearing date, and representing you in the courtroom.
  • File the motion for Early Termination of Probation – It is important to note that the motion for early termination of probation must be filed with the sentencing court. A defense attorney can help ensure that the motion includes the detailed reasoning for the request of ending probation early, any supporting documentation of completed conditions, and the request for a formal hearing.
  • Attend the court hearing – If the court grants a hearing for the motion to terminate probation early, the probationer is required to appear before the judge. During this hearing, the judge will either accept the motion for early termination or deny it.

The process of early probation termination is a complex one, which is why Pumphrey Law advises those pursuing to end their probation early to work with an experienced defense attorney. An attorney can make sure all the nuanced paperwork is accurately filled out and set up the hearing to terminate the probation early. An attorney will also make sure all probation requirements are met so a judge is more likely to release them from probation. Additionally, an attorney can talk with the probation officer to make sure they give the probationer a favorable recommendation.

What if a Judge Denies the Early Termination of Probation?

In certain cases where a plea is entered, the judge can state on record that an early termination of probation will not be prohibited, due to provisions in the plea deal by the prosecution and defense team. However, even if a judge declares this when the plea is first entered, Florida law authorizes probationers to petition for an early termination when, “justice satisfied that its actions will be for the best interests of justice and the welfare of society.”

In other words, even if a judge initially sets out provisions to prevent the early termination of a probationer, they can still legally petition for it anyway. Again, the probationer should have all their fines and special conditions fulfilled prior to petitioning for early termination. Once a probationer believes they can file for early termination of probation, they should contact the experienced attorneys with Pumphrey Law Firm.

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Modification of Probation in Florida

A probationer who has not served at least half of their probationary sentence or is not sure if early termination of probation will be granted may seek to modify the terms of their probation instead. This also applies for a probationer who does not agree with the terms of their probation. Reasons for modifying the terms of probation may be for issues involving employment, education, or living conditions.

The terms of your probation can be modified for any of the following reasons:

  • Travel out of town to attend a funeral or visit a sick relative;
  • Addressing medical issues;
  • Requesting additional time to complete required community service;
  • Leaving the state;
  • Elimination of the requirement for drug testing or counseling;
  • Elimination of a curfew provision;
  • Modification or removal of a “no contact” provision; or
  • For any other good reason to modify the conditions of your probation.

Modifications to a person’s probation can be minor or complex and will require a scheduled hearing with a judge. As setting up these meetings can be time consuming, it helps to have a knowledgeable defense attorney on your side.

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Probation Resources in Florida

  • Leon County Probation Office The Tallahassee-based probation office is responsible for the supervision of probationers who have been sentenced in the second judicial county. Their website provides helpful information, including a list of probation offices. The department is located at:
    • 501 Appleyard Dr
    • Tallahassee, Florida 32304
    • (850) 606-5600
  • Florida Department of Law Enforcement
    A Florida governmental agency that promotes public safety by preventing, investigating, and solving crimes. The Department is located at:

    • 2331 Phillips Road
    • Tallahassee, Florida 32308
    • (850) 410-7640
  • Leon County Website
    The Leon County, Florida’s official government website has a variety of information about the county, courthouses, community resources and local government links. The Leon County Courthouse is located at:

    • 301 S. Monroe Street
    • Tallahassee, FL 32301
    • (850) 577-4000

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Pumphrey Law | Probation Termination Attorneys in Tallahassee

If you are on probation in Leon County or the surrounding Tallahassee area, contact the attorneys at Pumphrey Law to discuss the details of your case. An experienced attorney may be able to help you file for an early termination of your probation. As previously mentioned, ending your probation early can be a nuanced process. The help our attorneys can provide is tenfold, with us vowing to do everything in our power to present your case to the judge with the hopeful outcome of having your probation terminated early. Contact us at (850) 681-7777 for a free consultation about terminating your probation early.

Page Updated November 22, 2023

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