Probation is often preferred to serving jail time for a criminal offense. However, probation is not without its challenges. Serving probation can be costly and time-consuming, depending on the conditions of your probation.
Fortunately, Ohio probation laws allow for early termination of probation. However, you must serve at least one-half of your probation term. Early termination of a probation sentence can save you money. It can also allow you to move forward with your life free from court supervision.
Working with a Cincinnati criminal defense attorney can help you successfully complete the process for early termination of your probation. A lawyer will guide you through each step and complete and file the appropriate documents with the court.
Table of Contents
How Does Probation Work in Ohio?
The term of probation depends on numerous factors, including:
- The criminal charges
- Sentencing guidelines
- Your criminal history
- The circumstances of the case
The maximum term for probation in Ohio is five years.
During probation, a probation officer monitors your activity. The judge determines the conditions of probation and how often you must report to your probation officer.
The purpose of probation is to foster good conduct and reform without requiring the individual to be incarcerated. Therefore, the judge may impose several requirements or conditions that you are expected to follow.
Examples of probation conditions include, but are not limited to:
- Submit to random drug and alcohol tests
- Avoid the use of drugs or alcohol
- Perform community service
- Remain within a specific distance of your home or work
- Find and maintain appropriate employment
- Attend substance treatment and/or counseling programs
- Pay restitution, fees, court costs, and fines
- Receive assistance with employment and life skills
- Abide by a curfew or submit to electronic monitoring
- Submit to warrantless searches of your person or property
In some cases, a person may not possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon. In addition, people on probation are generally prohibited from associating with anyone involved in criminal activities. Violating other laws while on probation may result in the court revoking probation.
The judge may revoke, modify, or reinstate probation after a violation. However, you could also face harsher punishments for violating probation than the initial sentence imposed by the court.
Do I Qualify for Early Termination of Probation in Ohio?
To qualify for early termination of probation, you must have served at least 50% of your probation period and successfully completed all probation requirements.
The factors a judge considers when deciding whether to terminate probation early include:
- Fulfillment of all financial requirements, including paying fines and restitution
- Attendance and completion of drug and/or alcohol programs or counseling
- Completion of community service requirements
- Remorse for past criminal offenses
- Hardships the individual faces because of probation, such as difficulty finding a job, caring for children, qualifying for a loan, and inability to travel for family or work obligations
- The individual’s past criminal record
- No new pending criminal cases or charges
- Compliance with sobriety requirements indicated by clean drug and alcohol screenings
- The seriousness of the underlying crime, including whether the individual injured another person while committing the crime
- The reports and recommendations of the probation officer
Generally, judges want to see positive steps of improvement during the probation period. Going back to school, maintaining a job, working as a volunteer, and maintaining a positive relationship with your probation officer work in your favor.
Any violations of probation terms work against you when applying for early termination of probation. Ideally, you want a spotless probation record when filing a motion for early termination of probation.
What Are the Steps to Apply for Early Termination of Probation in Cincinnati?
Your attorneys must file a motion with the court asking for early termination of probation. You may file a motion without a lawyer, but hiring an early termination of probation lawyer can improve your chance of success.
In addition to filing a petition with the court, you must also submit a Recommendation for Termination of Probation/Community Control report on DRC Form 3065. The form lists specific conditions of your probation and the date you completed the requirements. It also lists any probation violations.
Your probation officer will check for outstanding warrants or unreported arrests during your probation period. The officer will prepare a report that includes your history and attitude during the probation period. The probation officer notates any remaining problems or issues that would potentially prevent early termination of probation.
The court schedules a hearing on your motion to terminate probation early. At the probation hearing, the judge may ask questions or request evidence showing you met the conditions of your probation.
If the judge grants your motions for early termination of probation, you are released from court supervision, and your case is closed. If the judge denies your request, a report is submitted detailing the reasons for the denial. A follow-up date is set within six months for a routine reassessment.
How Can a Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorney Help You With a Motion for Early Termination of Probation?
An attorney understands the process and requirements for terminating probation early.
Things that an attorney can do to help you terminate probation early include:
- Assess whether you qualify for early termination of probation
- Prepare and file the required documents, statements, and reports with the court
- Compose a statement explaining your “good conduct and reform” by supplying specific examples of your actions and conduct during probation
- Gather and organize documents, receipts, and statements that show you met all conditions of probation
- Explain hardships or reasons why you are seeking to terminate your probation early
- Represent you and advocate for the early termination at your probation hearing
- Help you avoid mistakes and errors that could delay or hurt your chance of receiving early termination of probation
An attorney helps you show the court that you deserve to be released from probation early. If you believe there could be a problem with your probation officer, a lawyer can discuss the matter with the officer before filing a motion with the court. Your attorney may be able to resolve issues before they become a problem at your probation hearing.
Contact a Cincinnati Criminal Defense Lawyer for Help With Early Termination of Probation
Do you have questions about a criminal charge or probation? Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Cincinnati, OH for help. Learn more about your legal rights and gain legal advice you can use during your free appointment with an attorney.