Early Dismissal of Probation in Texas

Can You Get Off Probation Early?

Everyone who is on probation wants to “get off paper”. Texas law does allow for defendants to be discharged from probation early but only under certain conditions.

Here are the basics of what you need to know-

  1. There is a waiting period depending on the type of probation.
  2. You must not have past owe any money. So no past due fines, court costs, fees, or restitution. You must have completed all required counseling or treatment.
  3. Some offenses are not eligible for early termination.
  4. It’s up to the judge if you get off early; it’s not automatic
  5. If you do get off probation early, you need to know about judicial clemency.

Let’s look at the law on early termination from probation. Article 42A.701 of the Code of Criminal Procedure titled “REDUCTION OR TERMINATION OF COMMUNITY SUPERVISION PERIOD.”

What is the Waiting Period to Apply for Early Probation Dismissal? One-Third or Two Years (Whichever is Less)

It’s either after two years or after you have completed one-third of the original probation sentence, which is less. So for any probation sentence longer than six years, the waiting period is two years. For any sentence less than six years, the waiting period is one-third of the original sentence. The law says that after that time, the judge “May” reduce or terminate” probation. May is always an important word in the code of criminal procedure. May means they can choose to do or not do something. As opposed to “shall” which mean aj judge has to. This law is a may law, so the judge can always say no.

Mandatory Review- One-Half or Two Years (Whichever is More)

Speaking of shall, the judge must review your case for early termination after one-half the sentence is complete, or two years, whichever is more. So the minimum time for a mandatory court review is two years. Any sentence for probation of more than four years will have to wait until one-half the sentence is complete.

Mandatory review does not mean a mandatory release. The law only requires that the judge looks at your case. In reality, judges often forget to do this. So don’t count on the court just taking up your case unless you file a motion and set a hearing. The judge can still decide to make you stay on probation.

What Offenses are Not Eligible for Early Termination?

The following offense are not eligible for early dismissal or early termination of probation. This is a partial list.

Any intoxication offense in Penal Code 49.04-49.08:

  • DWI
  • DWI with Child
  • Intoxication Assault
  • Intoxication Manslaughter

Any offense requiring Sex Offender Registration:

  • Continuous sexual abuse of young child or children
  • Indecency with a child
  • Sexual assault
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Sexual performance by a child
  • Aggravated kidnapping or Burglary with intent to commit a sexual offense

3G offenses, but now they are called 42.054A:

  • Murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Human Trafficking
  • Injury to a Child
  • Felony Prostitution Offenses
Judicial Clemency

If the judge does discharge you from probation early he may also grant what is called judicial clemency. Judicial Clemency means the judge can withdraw the plea, which means you never pled guilty. The judge may also set aside the verdict, which means if you were found guilty, you aren’t guilty anymore. The law states you are also released from all other penalties from your plea, which sounds better than it is because you are still not eligible for an expunction.

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