This guide to early termination of probation in New Jersey has been created to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the early probation termination process in New Jersey.
Can you terminate probation early in New Jersey?
Yes. New Jersey law provides courts with the ability to discharge defendants from probation early. The statute relating to early termination of probation in New Jersey is located at N.J.S.A. 2C:45-2. Pursuant to that statute, at either the request of the defendant or the defendant’s probation officer, a court may release a defendant from probation at any time.
Often, courts will agree to release defendants from probation early so long as they have not had any problems while on probation and as long as the defendant’s probation officer supports the defendant’s request to terminate probation early. It is your probation officer’s job to make sure that you are leading a law-abiding life and that you are complying with your sentence. Thus, if your probation officer is on board with your request and does not feel as though you need to be supervised any longer, this will carry a great deal of weight with the court.
Early termination of probation occurs frequently with those who are enrolled in New Jersey’s Pre-Trial Intervention (“PTI”) program in New Jersey. For example, although some individuals are placed on probation for the maximum term of 36 months, they can and often are terminated early, thereby resulting in a dismissal of their charges early.
What are the benefits to terminating probation early?
There are a multitude of reasons why an individual would want to apply for early termination of probation. In addition to the fact that the individual would no longer have to report to probation as previously required, some individuals may want to terminate probation early as a requirement of their job or so that they can obtain a career promotion or advancement which they would otherwise not be eligible for while still on probation.
In addition, perhaps the most advantageous reason for applying for early termination of probation in New Jersey is the effect the early discharge will have on the individual’s ability to pursue expungement in New Jersey. When applying to expunge your arrest record in New Jersey, there are certain waiting periods that must be met. These time periods, however, do not start until the date the defendant completes their sentence, which includes payment of fine and/or completion of probation, whichever is later.
For example, an individual wishing to expunge a PTI arrest for their record must wait at least 6 months from the date of dismissal of the charges before applying for an expungement, while an individual wishing to expunge a felony conviction from their record must wait at least 5 years from the date of completion of their sentence. Applying to termination probation early, therefore, can speed up the expungement process drastically by reducing the applicable waiting periods accordingly.
What is the procedure for applying for an early termination of probation in New Jersey?
To apply for early termination of probation in New Jersey, the defendant will need to draft and file a Motion for Early Termination of Probation with the court that ordered the defendant to complete probation. A court hearing before a judge will also be required.
What factors will the court take into consideration in deciding whether or not to terminate my probation?
In general, in order for the court to discharge you early from probation you must have paid off your court fines, completed at least half of your probationary term, and completed all other terms of your sentence such as community service and/or any court ordered classes or treatment. Moreover, your chances of being discharged early will be much higher if your probation officer supports your application for early termination.
In addition, the court will take into consideration your behavior while on probation, the length of time you have been on probation, your arrest record, your age, the circumstances surrounding the underlying offense, and the seriousness of the underlying offense.The court will also take in account your reason(s) for requesting early discharge of probation and any other applicable factors.
Although we are unable to predict how a judge will rule in any matter, the early termination of probation lawyers at Katherine O’Brien Law have been successfully in the vast majority of early termination of probation cases that we have handled. In our experience, the more documentary or other supporting evidence we are able to provide on behalf of our clients, the better their chances of success are.
Why could my motion for early termination of probation be denied?
Generally, early probation termination cases are denied for any of the following reasons: (1) the court concluded that early termination of probation would not be in the public interest; (2) the defendant has not been on probation long enough; (3) the defendant violated any terms of their probation; or (4) the defendant has not been compliant with paying court fines.
Early Termination of Probation Lawyers
If you are interested in applying for early termination of probation in New Jersey, contact the experienced early termination of probation lawyers at Katherine O’Brien Law today for a free case evaluation and consultation. After speaking with you and gathering facts about your case, we will be able to advise you as to what your chances of success are so that you can make an informed decision.