Early Termination of Probation
In Florida, if you're on probation for a criminal offense, you can petition for early termination of probation after completing half the term of probation imposed by the court. For many people, this is an important option since probation violations can result in serious consequences. An experienced Miami criminal defense attorney at the Hoffman Firm may be able to help you pursue early termination of probation.What is Probation?
Probation has various conditions, which are imposed by the judge or probation officer. When someone disregards the probation conditions, there is a risk of getting a probation violation or being imprisoned rather than being allowed to serve out the rest of probation. It is easier to prove a probation violation than a criminal offense —numerous safeguards that apply to criminal proceedings don't apply in connection with probation violation hearings. With a probation violation, guilt doesn't have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. There's no right to a bond while you're waiting for your case to be heard. You can be required to testify against yourself.
Many people would rather petition for early termination of probation than be subject to the terms and conditions of probation.Who is Eligible for Early Termination of Probation in Miami?
Not everyone is eligible for early termination of probation. Those convicted of felony child abuse or felony sexual battery will not be eligible for early termination. Also, you need to have finished off half of the probationary term imposed by the court, successfully finished court-imposed probation conditions like substance abuse treatment or community service, paid any restitution, costs and fines that the court had ordered, and paid off any other financial obligations related to your conviction such as a public defender lien or costs of investigation by the court.
The court has discretion over whether early termination of probation will be granted. The court is most likely to provide early termination if you are a first offender who is on probation for a nonviolent offense. It's not likely to award early termination if you were convicted of aggravated battery for the second time and beat someone up so badly they have scars. In other words, early termination may not be available to repeat offenders or those who are on probation because of a violent offense conviction. Your criminal defense lawyer can assess whether you may be eligible.
If you meet the eligibility requirements, there are many benefits of early termination of probation in Florida. These can include that you would no longer need to submit to alcohol and drug testing, you would no longer be restricted in your movements, you would no longer have to attend classes, you would no longer need to pay the costs of supervision, and you would no longer have to follow other probation requirements to avoid being in violation.
The consequences of violating probation can be severe, and may include going back to prison. Moreover, it's easier for the government to prove a violation in this kind of proceeding than in a criminal trial. Unlike with a criminal charge, hearsay can be admitted against you in a probation violation hearing. There's no requirement that you have a jury trial for the probation violation. You don't have the right to a bond while you wait for a hearing. You can be required to testify against yourself and the government need not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Accordingly, for many people early termination of probation is more favorable than staying on probation and risking a probation violation or imprisonment.Petitioning for Early Termination
In order to obtain early termination of probation, you would need to make a motion outlining all the conditions of probation you completed and establishing that you paid all fines and costs. You would need to be able to show you hadn't committed another crime during probation, and show that you had taken any other positive steps that make continued community supervision unnecessary, such as keeping your job or graduating from college.Criminal Defense Attorney Serving Miami
Lawyer Evan Hoffman of the Hoffman Firm may be able to closely look at whether petitioning for early termination of probation would make sense in your situation. We represent those charged with felonies in Miami, as well as North Miami, Key Biscayne, Aventura, and Miami Beach. Call The Hoffman Firm at (305) 249-0090 or contact us via our online form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.