How to End Probation Early in Texas

Yes, you can end probation early.  You pled to your case and took probation, if you have done it right – you can end probation early. You can get off of probation.  Have you performed at one-third or two years of the probationary period – whichever is less?  Have you paid all of your fines and court costs?  Have you completed all of your community service?  Have you completed any required courses such as anger management? If the answers to these questions are yes, then you should be able get off of probation early.  Note, this is completely in the discretion of the judge.  But, if you have done right and completed your obligations there is really no reason the court will not grant you early release from probation.

Article 42.12, Section 20 of the Code of Criminal Procedure authorizes the judge to release you from probation early. There is no requirement that the judge grant the request, but it gives him or her the authority to get you off of probation.  After all, the County does not really want to spend any more time on you if you have done it right.

Qualifying for Early Release from Probation

Do Enough Time:  To qualify, you must have completed at least 1/3 of your ordered community supervision or two years – whichever is less.  Let’s assume you were placed on 10 years probation.  Then after you have completed 1/3 of your probation, you are eligible for release.  In other words, after 3.3 years, you may be able to petition the Court for early release.

What are Your Offenses: In Texas most offenses qualify for early release from probation. However, that is not true in all cases.  You cannot get off of probation if you have been convicted of any of the following:

  • An offense that requires you to register as a sex offender;
  • capital murder or murder:
  • indecency with a child:
  • aggravated kidnapping;
  • aggravated assault;
  • aggravated robbery; or
  • any of the intoxication offenses (DWI, DWI with Child Passenger, DWI Boat, DWI Plane, Intoxication while operating an amusement park ride, intoxication assault, or intoxication manslaughter).

Work with Your Probation Officer:  Here’s the shtick, the Court will pull your probation file and call your probation officer.  If you have been cooperative, respectful, and done what you are supposed to do, i.e., the probation officer likes you, then you will get a good report back to the court and probably released from probation.  If you are a jerk a-hole, forget about early release from probation. I always tell my clients, these guys are like god – treat them as such.

The probation officer may want to interview you prior to the hearing on your motion for early release from probation. Let’s not hide the ball.  Make sure that he knows anything that may potentially come up at the hearing. Answer his or her questions truthfully.

You also want to make sure that you show how much you have changed, how much you have learned your “lesson” and improved yourself. You have learned from your mistakes. But, let’s not lay it on too thick. Just be honest.

Restitution, Fines, Court Costs:  You are up to date on all of your money.  Look, if you have not made your payments or are behind on your payments, they are not going to early release you from probation when at the same time they are considering a Motion to Revoke.  After all, they are all about the money.

Jackson Law – Give us a call 214-369-7100:  Consult with your local criminal defense lawyer. Texas is tough on crime and is well known to be so.  Some of these judges are very conservative and are all about law and order.  However, good people get good results.  Your attorney will be able to work with you to make sure you have the best case presentation possible.  Call Jackson Law at 214-369-7100.

Motion to Terminate:  There is no set form or procedure for the filing and hearing in a Motion for Early Release from Probation.  In some counties, the really big ones this is all about a visit to the supervising probation officer, some sweet talk by the attorney, and a follow up telephone call.  Most counties, however, it will require a Motion for Early Termination of Probation and a scheduled hearing.   You need to have a lawyer do this for you. Yes, it is true you can do it on your own. But frankly, Courts do not like pro-se litigants at all,  and will look at you like some nit wit salamander crawling back into his or her Court set on bothering everybody.  That may not sound fair, but that is the way it is. Get your local lawyer involved.


Understanding Your Hearing on Motion for Early Release from Probation

Judge: the decision to terminate is entirely up to the judge. He or she will grant the Motion for early release from probation based upon the evidence presented.

Prosecutor: The DA, most of the time, will be present.  They represent the state. It is the probation officer, however, that is the most important player.

Probation Officer: At the hearing, the most important testimony is that of the probation officer.  He or she is the one that spends the most time with you.  Frankly, yea or nay in this deal is going to be directly dependent upon the probation officer’s opinion.  You want the probation officer to like you.

Probation Compliance: If you have not made your payments, as stated above, the court will not give you early release from probation.  Have you passed all drug tests?  Have you taken your required courses? Have you done your community service?

The Bad News: In the event the Court denies your request for early release from probation, he will give you a written statement as to why you were denied.  He will also tell you what you can do in the future that will help you be successful on the next application.  Yes, you can come back at a later time after you have corrected whatever it is that is keeping you from early release from probation.

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