Early Discharge From Probation

Following a conviction, most defendants are placed on probation with many terms and conditions that must be followed. These can include time in custody, community service, no use of alcohol or drugs, random testing, a chemical dependency assessment, etc. And the defendant can be on probation for a lengthy period of time. For most misdemeanors, it’s one year. For gross misdemeanors, it’s 2-or-more years. And felonies can range from just a few years to a decade or longer. Point being, a defendant can be on probation and in the criminal justice system for many years. And when this happens, defendants often wish to seek early discharge from probation.

Early discharge from probation is exactly what it sounds like. The defendant files a motion with the court to be released from his/her probation obligations early. For instance, if a defendant is sentenced to five-years of probation. After three years, the defendant then files a motion with the Court explaining that they have thrived while on probation, not had any missteps, and wish to be done with probation early. This is a motion for early discharge from probation.

There are no hard and fast rules for what the defendant must prove to succeed in getting discharged early or even when they are eligible. The typical rule of thumb in Minnesota is the halfway point, but this is not necessarily true for every case. When seeking early discharge from probation, the defendant will almost assuredly have to have completed all of the terms and conditions that were imposed. This means the defendant should assume they have to complete all community service, any chemical or mental health assessments and/or treatment, and pay all applicable fines and restitution. Of course, it is preferred if a defendant did not have any probation violations before seeking early discharge from probation. Finally, the defendant’s probation officer’s input will be extremely important to the success of the motion.

The benefit in getting discharged from probation early can be significant. Often, it can be a huge stress relief for the defendant and family. Depending on the outcome, discharge from probation can also lead to the desired outcome from the sentence. For instance, if it is a stay of imposition, the felony conviction would be reduced to a misdemeanor upon discharge from probation. Achieving this earlier than the scheduled date can have a meaningful impact in a person’s ability to job hunt, for example.

If you are facing a lengthy probationary period, but want to get discharged from probation early, understand that you have the ability to seek this relief and doing so may not be as complicated as you would expect. The North Star Criminal Defense team has had plenty of success in doing this for numerous clients over the years. Contact us today.