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Early Termination of Probation

In Florida people are sentenced to probation for a variety of offenses. Most probationers try to pay their fines and complete their conditions as quickly as possible so that they can request early termination of probation. Fines may include court costs, investigation fees, restitution, and supervision costs. Probation conditions include general conditions, like – to obey all laws, not re-offend, and no police contact; and special sanctions, like – community service or classes.

It is a myth that early termination of probation cannot be granted unless the possibility is noted in the Order of Probation. According to Florida Statute 948.05 the court is required to consider your petition and grant it when justice requires.

Florida Statutes - 948.04 and 948.05

948.04 Period of probation; duty of probationer; early termination.— 

(3) If the probationer has performed satisfactorily, has not been found in violation of any terms or conditions of supervision, and has met all financial sanctions imposed by the court, including, but not limited to, fines, court costs, and restitution, the Department of Corrections may recommend early termination of probation to the court at any time before the scheduled termination date.

And:

948.05 Court to admonish or commend probationer or offender in community control.—

A court may at any time cause a probationer or offender in community control to appear before it to be admonished or commended, and, when satisfied that its action will be for the best interests of justice and the welfare of society, it may discharge the probationer or offender in community control from further supervision.


Judge's Discretion


As a practical matter, most judges will not grant early termination of probation until at least half of the probationary period has passed. The court is not required to grant the early termination, it is left completely to the judge's discretion. But, it is the right of the probationer to file a motion to request early termination; and it is the obligation of the court to consider the request. If a probationer has completed all conditions, paid all fines, has not re-offended and half of the probationary period has passed, it is a worthwhile effort to request early termination.

The request is made in the form of a motion. So, it is a “Motion for Early Termination of Probation”. The original motion is filed with the clerk of court; and a copy is sent to the state attorney, and a copy is sent to the offender's probation officer. Each of these people has the opportunity to object to the early termination.

If neither objects to the early termination the judge either rules on the early termination or a court hearing is scheduled. The fact that a judge requires a court hearing, does not necessarily mean that the motion for early termination will be denied. The judge may simply want to speak to the probationer before ending his sentence.


The Motion Should Include


The motion should include facts that might persuade the judge to terminate the probation. For example, at minimum the motion should include:

  • Defendant has completed all conditions of his probation.
  • Defendant has paid all fines, court costs, and restitution.
  • Defendant has not re-offended or had any contact with law enforcement.
    Also if there are any other circumstances that might convince a judge that there is no need for the probationer to continue to be supervised, these should be included in the motion. If the probationer has accomplished worthwhile goals, such as enrolling or completing college; finding and keeping employment; or any other positive activities these can be noted in the motion. If there are special circumstances that make probation seem overly punitive, include them. For example, if the probationer needs to relocate for a better job, he might request that his probation be terminated. Or if there is a medical circumstance that might make the probation sentence seem overly harsh, explain it. For example, if the probationer plans to donate a kidney, or give birth; a judge may find that in the interest of justice, the probation should terminate. 



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