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Colorado Criminal Case Defense – Can I Obtain Early Termination of Probation in Colorado Criminal Cases?  How?  What Are The Possible Conditions of Probation

 by Colorado Criminal Defense Probation Violation Early Termination Lawyer – H. Michael Steinberg

Introduction – Early termination of probation in Colorado is possible under Colorado Law.  This page provides the Colorado statutes that govern the request and it is hopeful they will provide some sound advice to those trying to terminate their Colorado probation sentences early.

§ 18-1.3-204. Conditions of probation.

….(4) For good cause shown and after notice to the defendant, the district attorney, and the probation officer, and after a hearing if the defendant or the district attorney requests it, the judge may reduce or increase the term of probation or alter the conditions or impose new conditions.

Analysis – The Good and The Bad

To serve the ends of justice as well as the best interests of the public and the defendant, a court may grant a defendant probation for such period and upon such terms and conditions as it deems best. § 18-1.3-202(1), C.R.S. 2010.

The length of probation shall be subject to the discretion of the court and may exceed the maximum period of incarceration authorized for the classification of the offense of which the defendant is convicted.

In addition to imposing other conditions, the court has the power to commit the defendant to any jail operated by the county or city and county in which the offense was committed.  “The aggregate length of any such commitment . . . shall not exceed ninety days for a felony . . . unless it is a part of a work release program pursuant to section 18-1.3-207.”

The trial court has the authority to “grant the defendant probation for such period and upon such terms and conditions as it deems best.”

Section 18-1.3-202(1), C.R.S.  Extending The Term Of Probation – The Other Side Of The Coin

The court may thereafter extend a defendant’s probationary term “[f]or good cause shown and after notice to the defendant, the district attorney, and the probation officer, and after a hearing if the defendant or the district attorney requests it.”

Section 18-1.3-204(4), C.R.S.

But the provisions of the statute concerning notice, a hearing, and a showing of good cause are not applicable if the defendant consents to the extension.

Before terminating your probation early, the judge will want to ensure that:

1. You have successfully completed the terms of your probation (such as fines, classes or restitution),

and

2. There are circumstances that justify early termination.

Valid reasons may include (but are not limited to) the fact that your probation is  keeping you from securing gainful employment, preventing you from advancing at work, or restricting necessary travel.

Colorado Law gives the court the discretion to grant a request for early termination of probation at any time during the probation period.   In practice, however, most judges want to see people complete at least 12 to 18 months of the probation before they will seriously consider the motion.

Below is the suggested process of obtaining an early termination of probation by answering the following questions:

1. How Do I Obtain an Early Termination of Probation In Colorado?

2. What are the Benefits of an Early Termination of Probation In Colorado?

3. How Soon Can I Request an Early Termination of Probation In Colorado?  

4. How Does the Court Decide Whether to Grant Early Termination of Probation In Colorado?

1. How Do I Obtain an Early Termination of  Probation in Colorado?

Colorado Law ( see above) authorizes a judge to grant a defendant’s request to secure an early termination of his/her probation.

In order to obtain this type of relief, your Colorado criminal defense attorney must file a motion with the court and prosecuting agency and requesting a date for a hearing.

Additionally, your attorney should speak to the prosecutor about your case. This gives your lawyer an opportunity to:

– explain why you are a good candidate for early termination of probation, and

– ask the prosecutor to support your motion (or at least not to oppose it).

At the time of the hearing, your attorney will ask the judge to grant your motion by explaining that your “good conduct and reform” justify the request and that terminating your probation would best serve the interests of justice.

In some instances, your lawyer will be able to appear on your behalf, and you will not be required to attend the hearing.  But…depending on the circumstances…it may be in your best interest to be present. This is a strategy that you should discuss with your attorney prior to filing the motion.

2. What are the Benefits of an Early Termination  of A Colorado Probation Sentence?

The major benefit of obtaining an early termination of probation is that it eliminates the risk that you could be charged with a probation violation . If you get arrested for any crime while you’re on probation, the court can sentence you to jail or prison for violating your probation…regardless of whether you are even convicted of the new crime! Additionally – there are the obvious costs and freedom restoring benefits of not being on probation.

Probation violations do not entitle you to a jury trial. The judge simply decides if there is more evidence than not…a legal standard known as a preponderance of the evidence…that you did, in fact, commit the transgression.

3. How Soon Can I Request an Early Termination of Colorado Probation?

Any Time.. Unless the length of the term of probation was an agreed upon term of the plea agreement.  Also – usually the court will want a track record of solid compliance before considering a motion to reduce the period of probation.

§ 18-1.3-204. Conditions of probation.

….(4) For good cause shown and after notice to the defendant, the district attorney, and the probation officer, and after a hearing if the defendant or the district attorney requests it, the judge may reduce or increase the term of probation or alter the conditions or impose new conditions.

4. How Does the Court Decide Whether to Grant Early Termination of Probation?

So what exactly does “good cause ” mean? As Denver, Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer H. Michael Steinberg puts it –  ‘good cause means that you are not a risk to the public and that you’ve learned from your mistake and are now moving in a positive direction.”

This means that you have successfully fulfilled all the terms of your probation, such as paying all fines, finishing court-ordered classes, such as domestic violence classes or DUI school, paying all victim restitution, completing your community service, completing counseling, and satisfying any other requirements that the court imposed in connection with your probation sentence.

It also means that you have not been arrested for any other offense(s) and that you demonstrate remorse for your actions.

The judge will also weigh and consider additional circumstances. These circumstances include (but are not limited to):  the severity of the conduct that led to the conviction, your criminal history, the prosecutor’s opinion, and whether being on probation is causing you a hardship.

The types of hardships that may persuade the judge to grant your motion for early termination of probation may include situations where your probation is preventing you from obtaining gainful employment or receiving a promotion, traveling which you must do for work or to maintain family relationships, qualifying for a loan, or achieving or obtaining any other type of meaningful benefit.

Call us for help…

For questions about how to obtain an early termination of probation, or to discuss your case confidentially with H. Michael Steinberg do not hesitate to contact us at 303-627-7777

We offer free consultations to see if you are a good candidate for this type of relief.

Colorado Revised Statute, Title 18 Criminal Code, Article 1.3 Sentencing in Criminal Cases, Part 2 Probation 18-1.3-202 Probationary Power of Court:

 


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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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5445 DTC Parkway, Penthouse 4
Greenwood Village, Colorado, 80111
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