Early Termination of Probation in Florida, The Basics
Let's run through some basics if you want to early terminate your probation. Keep these things in mind.
Most obviously, you've got to have everything completed, right? I mean every fine paid off. I mean, cost of supervision paid. The community service needs to be done. The counseling, that's a big thing, the counseling needs to be done. And, for the folks on sex offender probation, sex offender counseling lasts five, seven, eight years. It goes on forever. And, you cannot early term unless you have completed counseling.
So, once you've got everything done, I presume you have not violated your probation before. If you have violated before and you were reinstated your chances are pretty slim that you're going to be early termed, so I wouldn't pay a lot of money to try and do that. Most judges won't, but it never hurts to ask, right?
Another thing to consider here is there are some bad words you're going to find in a plea form that are going to cause real trouble. There are four bad words that you can't say on TV, and there's three bad words that you don't want on your plea form.
If your plea form says "NO EARLY TERM" - we're done. We're kicked out. It is over. You cannot get early term if your plea form has already indicated that you're not to get it. Otherwise, if it doesn't say that, you're in the game.
A couple things I would keep in mind though. Number one: you do not have to wait till the halfway point to early terminate your probation. I have had judges early terminate probation before the halfway point. But, you had better know these judges. Because, judges are like people, they come in all shapes and sizes. And, you have some that absolutely will not early term probation ever.
We had Judge Conrad, he has since passed on, he was on the bench for decades and he would never early terminate probation. And, you would cringe when some private attorney got paid thousands of dollars and didn't know this judge and got all frustrated that the motion was denied. We could have told him or her that a long time ago and their client could have saved a lot of money.
Another thing, judges want other stuff besides what we're talking about. If your motion for early termination of probation just says "I haven't violated," "I've paid everything," "I've completed everything," and "I'm at the halfway point" - you may not get early term with some judges. Because sometimes, you've got to be able to tell your story.
You've got to say "Look judge, I have a plan for my life. I have a promotion that I can't take until I'm off felony probation." "I have a career path I cannot take, they won't hire me while I'm on felony probation, so I have to work this lesser job until I'm done." Some judges, they'll respond to that. They'll want to help you, and you've done a good job on probation so this will help you get to the next level in life. And, they're happy to do that.
Another side issue here is, we are not talking today about the mandatory early termination provisions in the law that took effect on October 1st, 2019. I don't know when you're watching this, but, these YouTube videos tend to stick around for a while. But, on October 1st of 2019 there are mandatory early term provisions in the Florida statutes now. So, I'm doing a separate video on mandatory early term and you'll want to watch that if you qualify for it. Good luck.