Can I Get Off Probation Early?
Thanks to the War on Drugs, a “tough on crime” lege, and pro conviction appellate courts Texas now has over 400,000 probationers, 25% more per capita than the average state. These probationers all have one thing in common- they don’t want to be on probation. Luckily, probationers in Texas can petition the court for early termination of community supervision.
What cases are eligible for early termination?
All offenses are eligible except Penal Code Sections 49.04-49.08, Sex Offender offenses, and 3g offeneses.
49.04 -49.08 are intoxication offenses; driving while intoxicated, flying while intoxicated, assembling or operating an amusement ride while intoxicated (really, look it up).
Sex offender offenses are self explanatory. 3g offenses are really bad stuff, and some drug cases- Murder, capital murder, indecency with a child, agg kidnapping, agg sex assault, agg robbery, school zone drug offenses, or an offense in which you used a deadly weapon.
Find out if you are eligible for early release before taking a plea offer.
Does anyone else find it outrageous that we put DWI defendants in the same boat as sex offenders? MADD’s DWI hysteria lobbying again proves to be more effective than the DWI defendant lobby. Moving on.
Ok, so who is eligible? Some drug cases, most misdemeanor cases besides DWI, most non violent theft cases.
When can I apply for early termination?
After you serve 1/3 of your community service time, or 2 years, whichever comes first.
Will the judge grant my motion?
It depends. In my experience the most important factors for early release are
1. How long you have been on probation. The longer the better.
2. Your probation performance. Pass your pee tests, report, and don’t get arrested!
3. $$$$$. The government needs your fines, fees, and court costs. Paying those will help your case.
4. Your PO’s (probation officer’s) recommendation. This is the most important. If your PO will sign off on early termination often the DA will agree, and if the DA agrees, then the judge is more likely to grant the motion.
5. Your overall criminal record. If you have been to the pen a few times, that’s not good.
Unfortunately, many DA plea recs also assume you will get off early. Therefore, you may get a 7 year probation plea offer because the DA assumes you will be off in 2 years anyway. The existence of the early release statute has an inflationary effect on plea offers.
Remember, you are not guaranteed early release. Don’t sign up for 10 years probation expecting to get off in 2.
Work with your PO
Once you are on probation let your PO know that you want to get off early and make that your goal. Ask your PO what it would take to win his/her recommendation for early termination and follow through.