When my clients are sentenced, I almost always get asked the same question;
“WHEN WILL I BE OFF PROBATION?”
As much as I wish there was an easy answer to this question, there isn’t. Courts and judges vary from area to area as to their likelihood of granting an early termination of probation. However, that does not mean you can’t put forth your best effort to get that successful discharge from probation!
Here is a quick and simple list, then we can dive in further:
- Perform all of your court-ordered drug and alcohol testing as required
- Pay your fines early
- Complete community service (even more if possible)
- Complete your classes i.e. MADD Victim Impact Panel, Alcohol Awareness, Outpatient Therapy
- Determine why you DESERVE to be off probation early
- Cultivate a great and trusting relationship with your probation officer
What else can I do to help my case?
Alright, now that you have a broad idea of what is necessary, let me give you some further tips. For a standard probation (12-18 months), judges will most likely not consider early termination until you have completed at least half of your probation. While they most likely will not consider it, that doesn’t mean it is impossible. After all, you never get anything that you don’t ask for.
In addition, and I cannot stress this enough, YOU MUST HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR PROBATION OFFICER. I know that some probation officers can be very tough and demanding. However, your judge will consult with probation as to whether you should be terminated from probation early. If you have fought and bickered with your probation officer, this process can be much more difficult. Even if you do not like him/her, go in with a smile and be respectful. Do what they ask. Contact an attorney to determine if they are being excessive, but do not confront them in an aggressive way on your own.
What if I don’t have a good relationship with my Probation Officer?
With that being said, sometimes you just won’t be able to have a relationship with your probation officer. That’s okay! You can still convince a judge that you are deserving of an early termination. In order to do this, you must show substantial compliance with the terms of your probation. Read over your order of probation. Did you do everything the judge requested? Have you tested clean? GOOD! These are all things judges will consider.
I’ve had violations. Can I still ask for early termination?
It depends. What was the violation for? Dirty test? Additional criminal charges? Failure to report? All of these things can complicate your case. However, it does not mean you are doomed. We have been successful at helping those with even spotty probation records achieve early termination.
Okay, let’s do this. What is my next step?
You can attempt to do apply for early termination on your own. Speak with your probation officer to see if they think you would be a good candidate. However, if you are scared or nervous to broach the topic, call us! We can help you gather the appropriate documentation needed for a successful early termination motion to the court. While these may not always be successful, judges respect and admire your progress. They may choose to shorten your probation, or even tell you ways to achieve early termination in the future.
If you are tired from calling every morning to test, or you simply can’t handle the stressors of probation, think about your options. Early termination of probation is a possibility if the work is done correctly. As always, we are here to help!
Attorney Morris has enjoyed a very successful and distinguished career as a trial lawyer providing high quality legal representation in the area of state and federal criminal defense for 20 years. He is known for his trial preparation by fellow attorneys, judges and clients alike. As a trial attorney, he is dedicated to attaining justice in every case, and is prepared to take on complex legal issues with success. Barton and his law firm pride themselves on obtaining results for their clients that other attorneys cannot.
Not only does Barton Morris have extensive experience, he also engages in continuing legal education to provide the highest quality legal services. Barton has received specialized scientific training through the American Chemical Society. He attended the prestigious Trial Lawyers College and serves on its Alumni Association Board of Directors. Barton Morris is also a board member of several distinguished legal associations including the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys, and the DUI Defense Lawyer’s Association Justice Foundation. He is also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and has also graduated from their National Criminal Defense Trial College in Macon, Georgia.
Barton Morris was chosen as a Top Lawyer of Metro Detroit for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2019 and 2020 for DUI/DWI and criminal defense by DBusiness Magazine and Hour Magazine. Barton Morris was also chosen as a Super Lawyer in Criminal Defense for 2014-2020 and Barton Morris is the only Lawyer in Michigan designated by the American Chemical Society as a “Forensic Lawyer-Scientist”