New Jersey state law allows individuals to be discharged from probation early. Getting an early termination of probation requires a person to file a Motion for Early Termination of Probation with the court that issued the probation sentence. A judge will then order a hearing on the matter.
Qualifications for Early Termination of Probation in NJ
A person can apply for early termination of probation if he/she has completed any court-mandated classes and/or treatment, as well as satisfied any fines. It is generally preferred that a person complete at least half of his/her probation sentence, but this is not a hard-and-fast rule.
What is Considered for Early Termination of Probation in NJ
At the hearing for the early termination of probation, a judge is going to take numerous factors under consideration. This includes:
- Criminal history
- The offense in question
- Whether terms of probation were complied with
- Behavior on probation
- Overall length of time on probation
- Stated reasons for requesting early termination
In general, a judge will want to see that the person requesting early termination of probation is doing so in order to be a more productive citizen and member of the community. Getting a recommendation from one’s probation officer greatly improves the chances of getting an early termination.
Why Request Early Termination of Probation in NJ
There are several key benefits to getting an early termination of probation:
- Relief from probation requirements/limitations. A person who is released early will no longer have to check in with his/her probation officer periodically. In addition, any travel restrictions will be lifted. Those ordered to random drug tests will no longer have to submit to them. It could also restore one’s right to own a firearm (although some convictions revoke this right altogether).
- Career advancement. Certain jobs or promotions could be denied to someone who is still on probation. Getting an early termination can open up new job opportunities not otherwise available.
- Reduce expungement waiting period. Getting one’s criminal record expunged in New Jersey requires satisfying the terms of one’s sentence—including probation—and then waiting a set period of time before filing. The sooner one is discharged from probation, the sooner one can file for expungement.
Why Might Early Termination of Probation Be Denied?
There are several reasons why a person’s request for an early termination of probation might be denied:
- Violating terms of probation. A person who missed a drug test, failed to complete mandated classes, or was not consistent in checking in with his/her probation officer can be denied.
- Nonpayment of fines. Failing to pay any fines is grounds for denial of early termination.
- Not being on probation long enough. A judge may decide that the person has not been on probation long enough to justify an early termination. That’s part of why it is highly recommended one wait until at least half of the probation term has elapsed before applying.
- Not in the public interest. Early termination of probation is intended as an incentive for individuals to move beyond their criminal past and integrate into society. A judge who feels the offender has not made an effort to become a better citizen, who has a long history of criminal behavior, or who otherwise demonstrates that he/she is not likely to turn his/her life around can be denied early termination.
Should I Hire an Attorney to File for Early Termination of Probation?
It is possible to file a motion for early termination of probation without the help of an attorney. However, this is not recommended. Hiring an attorney can:
- Improve the odds of success. An attorney will know how best to present the case so that it is most likely to convince a judge to grant the early termination.
- Reduce the chance of errors. Having an attorney review the application can minimize the chance of making a mistake that could result in a denial.
- Stay at home. In most cases, an attorney can attend the hearing in place of the client. That means he/she may not have to take time off of work for the hearing. It also means he/she may not have to face a judge and risk answering questions that could accidentally convince the judge to deny the early termination.
If you or a loved one has been convicted of a criminal offense in New Jersey and would like to end their probation sentence early, consult with an attorney. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled defense and expungement attorneys with experience helping people put their criminal past behind them. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 888-815-3649 today for a free consultation about your case.