You’ll Never Know Unless You Ask – Part 2: Getting off Deferred Adjudication Probation Early

 

In a previous blog, I discussed getting off of a straight or regular probation early in Texas.  Today, let’s discuss the ins and outs of a motion for early termination of a deferred adjudication probation.  It is possible to be off of a deferred adjudication probation earlier than the full term, but as in all things law-related, there are hard and fast rules as well as suggested guidelines.

As for the basic requirements, there is technically no minimum waiting period you have to serve before you can ask to get off of a deferred early.  Theoretically you could be placed on probation on a Monday and ask to have it terminated on Tuesday.  Now the odds of a judge going along with that are about zero, but it does highlight how in Texas we don’t have a set amount of time built into the law that you have to serve.

That being said, each judge may have his or her own minimum waiting period in mind.  Where one court may want you to have served one half of your sentence, another may want more…or less.  Ultimately, it pays to know a little bit about your judge and their habits on granting or denying motions for early termination of deferred on your type of case.

Judges will typically also balance such factors as the seriousness of the original offense charged, the defendant’s prior criminal history, the opinions of the probation department, the prosecutor’s office and the victim, if any.  Also, all judges will certainly look very carefully into the behavior of the defendant while on probation.

So if you are thinking about filing to terminate your deferred adjudication early, honestly ask yourself what kind of a probationer have you been?  Have you made your appointments and payments on time, have you been responsive to the needs of your probation officer, have you tested clean for drugs and alcohol when required?  The court may not always follow the advice of the probation department, but they will always hear them out.  Make sure that when your probation officer speaks to the court about you, there is more good than bad.

To make yourself the best candidate for early termination possible it helps to have paid off any outstanding balance of court costs, fines, and restitution.  Also, fully completing any assigned community service hours, classes, counseling and treatment programs looks great too.  It shows the court that you are well on your way towards full rehabilitation.

Please bear in mind that there are certain offenses not eligible for early termination of a deferred adjudication.  Generally, these are offenses that required registration as a sex offender under Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.  For all other types of offenses which are eligible, if you have been doing a good job on your deferred, there is no harm in getting back before your judge to take a shot at an early termination.  The worst that can happen if you are denied is that you still remain on deferred as before, free to refile your motion at a later time to try again!

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