Early Termination of Probation

Nearly 2 million Texans have accepted deferred adjudication judgments for misdemeanors and felony arrests and many more Texans have accepted regular or "straight" probation for misdemeanors and felony arrests. Many believe that once the probation period is over and the charge dismissed that it will not be on their record. Unfortunately this is not the case: the arrest, court and the judgment remains on your record and available to the public to view. Even if you received a deferred adjudication judgment, you record remains public unless you are granted a Petition for Non-Disclosure through the Courts.

Early Termination of deferred adjudication is the first step in clearing your record and paving the way for your records to be sealed.

Working to clear your criminal record is valuable for any number of reasons. It affects your ability to find and keep a good job, get a certification/re-certification, rent an apartment, get a mortgage or any other type of loan or gain acceptance to school. Your record will influence any future criminal case you might be unfortunate enough to have filed against you. Certain convictions can increase what you pay for life and health insurance.

What is Early Termination of Probation?
The Court, in its discretion, can order the early termination of probation in many misdemeanor and felony cases. You will then no longer be on community supervision (probation). However, early release from probation is entirely discretionary and not mandatory. There's no way to force the judge to grant an early discharge. Even if you have completed all the terms, if the judge doesn't want to let you out of the remainder of the probation term, you'll have to finish it. Most however listen and try to reduce the term of the probation when possible.

Benefits of Requesting a Reduction or Early Termination
It is important to minimize your record as much as possible to reduce all the consequences, seen and unforeseen. Early Termination of deferred adjudication community supervision is the way to start the process for your records to be sealed.

Probation on your record is better than a sentence of imprisonment. A successful probation with early termination is even better. A deferred adjudication is better than straight probation. A reduction to a lesser charge is always preferential to pleading to the charged offense. Best of all, is a dismissal.

What is the Process?
Once you hire us, we will (1) draft a motion asking for early termination of probation, (2) place the matter on the court's calendar, (3) speak to the prosecutor and probation officer in an attempt to gather their support, and (4) argue the matter before the judge. The prosecutor must receive advanced written notice and has an opportunity to state any objections on the record. If early termination is successful, most judges don't require you to pay out probation fees into the future.

How Soon Can I Request a Reduction or Early Termination?
In theory, if you were sentenced to deferred adjudication community supervision (probation), the petition for early termination can be made any time after probation is imposed. But, a court typically will want the defendant to serve at least 9 months to one year of misdemeanor probation, and at least the first 18 months of felony probation, before considering early termination. If you were sentenced to regular or "straight" probation, you must satisfactorily complete one-third of the period of probation, or two years, whichever is less.

How Does The Court Decide Whether to Grant Early Termination?
The court will weigh and consider all the circumstances of the case. These include:

  • How serious was the conduct leading to the conviction?
  • Has the person completed all the terms and conditions of probation?
  • What is the extent (or lack) of the person's additional criminal record?
  • Is the probation preventing the person from gaining employment or other benefits?
  • What is the prosecutor's position on the matter?

Who is Eligible for a Early Termination? After you have served at least one third of your original sentence, the Judge may consider a request for early termination if you have:

  • Been an exemplary probationer, AND
  • Completed all of your community service hours, AND
  • Fully paid all fines and restitutions, AND
  • Met all conditions of probation: Including: community service, classes finished, AA's attended, and, etc.

Pursuant to Article 42.12. Section 20. Reduction or Termination of Community Supervision
(a) At any time, after the defendant has satisfactorily completed one-third of the original community supervision period or two years of community supervision, whichever is less, the period of community supervision may be reduced or terminated by the judge. Upon the satisfactory fulfillment of the conditions of community supervision, and the expiration of the period of community supervision, the judge, by order duly entered, shall amend or modify the original sentence imposed, if necessary, to conform to the community supervision period and shall discharge the defendant. If the judge discharges the defendant under this section, the judge may set aside the verdict or permit the defendant to withdraw his plea, and shall dismiss the accusation, complaint, information or indictment against the defendant, who shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense or crime of which he has been convicted or to which he has pleaded guilty, except that:

  1. Proof of the conviction or plea of guilty shall be made known to the judge should the defendant again be convicted of any criminal offense; AND
  2. If the defendant is an applicant for a license or is a licensee under Chapter 42, Human Resources Code, the Texas Department of Human Services may consider the fact that the defendant previously has received community supervision under this article in issuing, renewing, denying, or revoking a license under that chapter.

Who is NOT Eligible for a Reduction or Early Termination?
The following offenses are not eligible:

  • Sex Offenses
  • DWI

What Is the Difference Between Community Supervision (Probation) And Straight Community Supervision?
Probation results from a guilty finding and from a suspended sentence. Upon fulfilling the probation requirements, you will not be sent to prison or jail.

In Straight Community Supervision, the Judge finds that there is sufficient evidence to find you guilty, but defers a guilty finding while s/he places you on community supervision (i.e. probation). In a regular/straight probation, the maximum the Judge can sentence you in prison is the number of years that you were given on probation. For example if you are on a straight probation for a felony DWI and you received five years sentence probated for 5 years, the maximum amount of time you can receive in prison if you are revoked is five years.

Will I Be Found Guilty From the Deferred Adjudication?
If you successfully serve out your deferred adjudication, you will never be found guilty of the crime with which you were charge. But if you fail, the Judge can sentence you to any term within the range of punishment for your crime. Texas law does not allow deferred adjudication for some crimes, such as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).

Can I get my records expunged if I successfully completed Deferred Adjudication?
No. The law in the state of Texas does not allow for records to be "expunged" if you have received any type of court ordered supervision, including deferred adjudication. However, after successful completion of deferred probation for certain offense your record can be sealed through an Order of Non-Disclosure.

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