How To Terminate Probation Early In California

A Guide To Help You Through The Process

Probation and its conditions can severely curtail your ability to find employment, travel or to live a normal life without the fear of violating a condition that can send you to prison or jail.

Below is information on the steps needed to undertake an early termination of probation

Let’s get started…

But first, watch this video to see what needs to be submitted for the motion.

How To Apply For Early Termination of Probation

In theory, you can apply for early termination of probation1 under Penal Code Section 1203.3 at any time after you are placed on probation.

What Is The First Step?

Your attorney can file a motion under penal code 1203.3 and give the prosecutor at least 2-days notice before the hearing is to be held.

Do I Need To Attend The Hearing?

Depending on the severity of your offense, you may or not have to attend the hearing.

Usually, your attorney will know in advance if the prosecutor will oppose the motion.

If so, your attendance is usually necessary.

Can I Apply For Early Termination Right After I am Sentenced?

You could but it would likely be a waste of time and money on your part.

Judges need for you to demonstrate that you have complied with court-ordered conditions of restitution and completion of any programs.

Examples include:

  • Paying a victim or entity for any property damage you caused or money that you stole.
  • If you have a drug or alcohol issue, then you will generally have to attend either an education program or in-patient or out-patient treatment.
  • Domestic violence under pc 273.5 or sex offense matters may entail counseling.

How Long Should You Wait To File An Early Termination of Probation?

The court will want to see a satisfactory report on your progress over at least the past 12 to 18-months if you are on formal (felony) probation since you were released or your probationary period commenced.

If you are on informal or misdemeanor probation than you should wait at least half of your probationary period before attempting to terminate probation early.

What Needs To Be Included In The Motion to Terminate Probation Early?

In the motion for early termination, your attorney will include the reasons why early termination should be granted.

  • The court will want to be assured that you have not re-offended, or
  • Have a pending criminal matter and have completed all conditions of your probation.
  • Successful completion of any court-ordered programs such as alcohol or drug education. and
  • Have paid restitution if ordered.

The Court Will Want To See That Probation Is Hurting Your Recovery

You should also demonstrate that being on probation has specifically prevented you from securing employment, leasing a residence, or obtaining other benefits.

Rejected Resume

What Other Factors Does The Court Consider?

Along with showing successful completion of community service and attendance at court-ordered programs and payment of fines and/or restitution, the court will also consider:

  • Your past criminal history
  • The severity of your offense–was a firearm involved or did someone suffer serious bodily injury?
  • Was this a sex crime?
  • Whether the prosecution is objecting
  • If your ability to secure suitable employment, attend school, to qualify for financial assistance for school or a business or car loan or some other benefit has been curtailed

You Need To Show Good Conduct and Reform.

Good conduct refers to abiding by all laws and not causing any problems or issues.

You must not have re-offended, been terminated or asked to leave a court-ordered program because of non-attendance or unruly behavior or harassed a victim.

These are probation violations that can result in your being incarcerated or having additional restrictions or conditions imposed.

What Happens If You Violated Probation?

If you violated any condition of your probation such as failing a drug test or contacting a victim and spent time in jail or prison, you can still apply for early termination once you served your time though a court may be reluctant to grant early termination at least for some period after your release.

What Shows That You Have Reformed?

Reform requires that you not only have not re-offended or violated a condition of probation, but can show efforts to re-integrate into your community.

This may inlude:

  • Attending school on a regular basis or
  • Having obtained a degree and
  • Securing employment.
  • Engaging in community activities such as coaching a youth team or continuing voluntary participation in an alcohol or drug program are strong indicators of reform.

What Are The Benefits Of Receiving Early Termination?

Just being relieved of any restrictions on your daily activities is reason enough but there are other tangible benefits as well:

Early Termination Of Probation And Expungement

An expungement means that your record of conviction is no longer accessible to the general public including employers or landlords.

You do have to disclose your conviction and expungement when applying for public employment or licensing.

What Other Benefits Are There To Terminating Probation Early?

  • If your felony offense was a “wobbler,” you can ask the court to reduce it to a misdemeanor while applying for expungement
  • You can apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation if your offense cannot be expunged unless it involves certain serious offenses
  • It removes any risk of violating a condition of probation
  • If you are convicted of another offense, you will not face the possible imposition of a sentence for the crime for which you are serving probation as well as face prosecution for the new offense

If Granted Early Termination, Can I Apply For Exclusion From Megan’s Law?

You can be excluded from Megan’s Law only if you apply to the Department of Justice for exclusion though this will not relieve you of your obligation to register as a sex offender2.

Only certain sex crimes are considered.

Terminating your obligation to register for life, however, and removing your name and information about your offense is possible only if you are granted a certificate of rehabilitation from the court3.

You can apply once you are no longer on probation.

Are My Gun Rights Restored After My Probation Is Terminated?

If you were convicted of a felony, your gun rights will not be restored once your probation is terminated.

If the conviction was a“wobbler” offense where you could have been charged with a misdemeanor, then you can apply to have the felony reduced to a misdemeanor at the same time you apply for expungement ((California Penal Code 1203.4)).

In most cases, this will restore your gun rights4. Otherwise, only a Governor’s pardon will restore your 2nd Amendment rights5.

What You Should Do Now

If you are ready to discuss filing for early termination of probation with an attorney contact the Aizman Law Firm6 at 818-351-9555 for a free confidential consultation.

Get Legal Help

Request A Free Consultation 818-351-9555 


  1. California Penal Code 1203.3 – Probation; revocation, modification or termination and discharge; conditions; revocation at time of escape; hearing.  (“(a) The court shall have authority at any time during the term of probation to revoke, modify, or change its order of suspension of imposition or execution of sentence. The court may at any time when the ends of justice will be subserved thereby, and when the good conduct and reform of the person so held on probation shall warrant it, terminate the period of probation, and discharge the person so held. (b) The exercise of the court’s authority in subdivision (a) to revoke, modify, change, or terminate probation [known as an early termination of probation] is subject to the following: (1) Before any sentence or term or condition of probation is modified, a hearing shall be held in open court before the judge. The prosecuting attorney shall be given a two-day written notice and an opportunity to be heard on the matter, except that, as to modifying or terminating a protective order in a case involving domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211 of the Family Code, the prosecuting attorney shall be given a five-day written notice and an opportunity to be heard. (A) If the sentence or term or condition of probation is modified pursuant to this section, the judge shall state the reasons for that modification on the record. (B) As used in this section, modification of sentence shall include reducing a felony to a misdemeanor. (2) No order shall be made without written notice first given by the court or the clerk thereof to the proper probation officer of the intention to revoke, modify, or change its order. (3) In all cases, if the court has not seen fit to revoke the order of probation and impose sentence or pronounce judgment, the defendant shall at the end of the term of probation or any extension thereof, be by the court discharged subject to the provisions of these sections. (4) The court may modify the time and manner of the term of probation for purposes of measuring the timely payment of restitution obligations or the good conduct and reform of the defendant while on probation. The court shall not modify the dollar amount of the restitution obligations due to the good conduct and reform of the defendant, absent compelling and extraordinary reasons, nor shall the court limit the ability of payees to enforce the obligations in the manner of judgments in civil actions. (5) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the court from modifying the dollar amount of a restitution order pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 1202.4 at any time during the term of the probation…” []
  2. California Penal Code 290 []
  3. California Penal Code 290.5 []
  4. California Penal Code 4854 []
  5. California Penal Code 4852.17 []
  6. Our early termination of probation attorneys file motions in Santa Clarita, Burbank, Glendale, Lancaster, Long Beach, Los Angeles airport court, Pasadena, Pomona, Torrance, Van Nuys, West Covina, and Whittier, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura County []

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