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PROBATION MODIFICATION, EARLY TERMINATION, EXPUNGEMENT

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What is a Probation Modification?

A probation modification is a change or alteration to the terms of your probation. A modification will either add, alter, or strike certain terms to permit you to engage in conduct different than what the court previously ordered. To obtain a modification of your probation you must file a motion with the court pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.3.

Common examples of probation modifications include

  • Requests to perform probation obligations outside of the county
  • To have fines converted into community service
  • To strike a prohibitive term, example, removing the term “Probationer shall not congregate where alcohol is sold” so that you can go to a bar with your friends.

This is a discretionary statute, which means you need to persuade the judge that the terms of probation should be modified and that doing so will serve the interests of justice. Simply asking for lighter or easier probation terms is not likely to be granted absent a showing of some good cause.

What is an Early Termination of Probation?

Penal Code section 1203.3(a) “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”

“Good conduct and reform” are typically demonstrate once you have completed all the affirmative duties of your probation (e.g. pay your fines, attend mandatory classes, do any community labor/service,) and approximately half the term of your probation has run. So if after 18 months of your 36 month probation term you have completed all your affirmative probation obligations, you likely will qualify for an early termination.

Because this is a discretionary choice by the judge, there is no guarantee that an early termination will be granted. Things which a judge may consider include

  • Whether any probation violations occurred while the petitioner was on probation;
  • The exact nature and underlying circumstances of the crime that put petitioner on probation;
  • How much time the petitioner has been on probation.

What is Expungement?

Under Penal Code section 1203.4, once a person has successfully completed their probation, they are eligible to expunge their record. An expungement essentially allows you to withdraw a plea of guilty or no contest (or sets aside a guilty verdict at trial), and then the case against you is dismissed, as if you were never convicted.

The benefits of this are, however, somewhat limited. If you get your conviction expunged, this will absolve you of any obligation to tell employers that you have been convicted of a crime. However, if you are applying for government work, you will likely be specifically asked if you have been convicted of any crime, even a crime that was later expunged.

Also, for the purposes of Federal Immigration Law, an expunged conviction can still be used as a basis to classify the person as “eligible for deportation” or “ineligible for admission”, even if you did everything the court asked of you.

Why should I hire an attorney?

Because probation modifications, early terminations, and expungements require the submission of a legal pleading, and may require you to persuade a judge, you will be benefited by the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, like those employed at the Manshoory Law Group, APC. Call today for a free consultation.