Motion for Early Discharge from Probation
It is possible to file a Motion for Early Discharge of Probation and win! Although most judges are reluctant to grant an early termination of probation, if the right arguments are made in a persuasive and credible way, the defendant stands a really good chance of being successful.
Requirements/Satisfying the Court Ordered Terms of Probation
Every case is different, which is why the defendant considering filing a motion for early termination of probation should always consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney beforehand. That being said, here are some basic points:
Normally, the defendant will need to establish that he/she has successfully paid all fines and restitution, completed all counseling requirements (alcohol, anger-management, etc…), and most if not all of the other terms imposed at the time of your sentencing.
If the defendant has violated the terms of probation at any time, this will also affect the Court’s analysis. A prior violation of probation does not preclude early termination but it may make things more difficult.
The court may also consider positive efforts that have been made by the defendant, while on probation (even if not ordered by the court). This can include:
- Efforts to acquire and maintain employment
- Engaging in volunteer and community service work
- Educational pursuits or achievements
- Significant family circumstances (new child, sick parent, etc…)
- Lack of involvement in the criminal justice system
Hardships to the defendant or the defendant’s family as a result of the probation may also be considered.
Filing the Motion
The defendant should consult with a lawyer prior to filing any motion. A motion is a written request for relief from a judge and may or may not require a hearing in court. Most District Courts and Circuit Courts in Michigan require a written motion for these types of requests and a formal hearing before the judge. At the time of the hearing, the prosecutor or local city or township attorney will have the opportunity to oppose the Motion. He or she can also file a written objection called a Response. The Court will then make a decision as to whether or not the Motion to Terminate Probation or Motion for Discharge from probation should be granted.
Unless the defendant has been on probation for an extended period of time from the time of the conviction (normally, at least a six months), the filing of the motion may be premature. Additionally, it is important to demonstrate to the court how the probation has impacted the defendant. A great criminal defense lawyer will know how to best present the motion in a way to achieve this goal.
For example, many individuals experience problems such as: loss of employment positions or job advancements, inability to successfully pass background checks, restrictions on travel, loss of benefits and otherwise, as a result of being on “active probation status.” These types of issues can also be taken into consideration at the time of the hearing. Although these negative consequences of probation can be influential on the court, positive effects of probation tend to be even more persuasive. The court wants to believe that the probationer is getting off probation with some benefit and is thus less likely to re-offend.
If you think you may be eligible to file a Motion for Termination of Probation or a Motion for Discharge from probation, please call one of the experience, zealous and caring attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation today. We will take the time to talk to you and find a way to help. If you complete a Request for Assistance Form, we will promptly contact you.