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So, you are sick of being on probation and you want to get off?

Three things are generally required:

  1. Time
  2. Money
  3. Excuse


Courts generally expect a defendant to spend some time on probation before probation is terminated.  During the time on probation, the defendant should stay crime-free and should demonstrate efforts to rehabilitate himself.  Rehabilitation can be shown by taking appropriate classes (parenting, domestic violence), attending substance abuse programs (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, etc.), becoming employed, becoming more educated, performing volunteer work.  As a rule of thumb, most courts want to see a defendant complete at least have of the ordered probation time before terminating probation.


Probation terms usually include the requirement that the defendant pays restitution, fines, and fees.  Unless these amounts are paid in full, there is little chance that the court will terminate probation.


Even if sufficient time has passed and the defendant has paid all required amounts, the court probably won’t terminate probation unless the defendant has an excuse.  The defendant needs to explain why the defendant needs to terminate probation.  Will termination give the defendant the opportunity to obtain a better job?  Will termination allow the defendant to move to a different state to care for his elderly grandmother?  Why does the defendant need to terminate probation now instead of at the end of the ordered probationary period?

How to Terminate

Ask the court to terminate probation using a Motion to Terminate, such as the one in the following sample:

Good Guy
1234 L Street
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Defendant, in Pro Per





People of the State of California,                                CASE NO. BF123456W

.   Plaintiffs,                                                                  MOTION TO TERMINATE PROBATION

– v –

Good Guy,                                                                  Date: August 15, 2018
.                                                                                   Time: 8:30 a.m.
.   Defendant                                                               Dept:  LM


PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that at the date and time indicated above, or as soon thereafter as the matter can be heard in the above-entitled court, Defendant will move the court for an order terminating probation in the above-entitled case.

This motion will be made on the ground that Defendant has successfully completed all ordered terms of probation except the time element, and termination is in the interest of justice.

This motion will be based on the attached memorandum of points and authorities served and filed herewith, on the attached letters of recommendation, and on such supplemental declarations, affidavits, memoranda of points and authorities as may hereafter be filed with the court, on all the papers and records on file in this action, and on such oral and documentary evidence as may be presented at the hearing of the motion.


Date____________                                                    _____________________

.                                                                                  Good Guy


Defendant was placed on three years probation following his conviction for possession of methamphetamine.  Since his conviction more than a year ago, Defendant has attempted to rehabilitate himself.  He has attended Narcotics Anonymous regularly (see attached attendance records), he has become gainfully employed (see attached job records), he has paid all fines, fees, and restitution (see attached Revenue Recovery records), and he has paid child support to the mother of his children (see attached payment records).

Defendant wishes to further his rehabilitation by accepting a better paying job with a construction company, but to do so requires early termination of probation.



Penal Code §1203.3 provides in pertinent part: “(a) The court shall have authority at any time during the term of probation to revoke, modify, or change its order of suspension of imposition or execution of sentence.”

The purpose of probation is to rehabilitate the defendant (People v. Allen (1975) 46 Cal. App. 3d 583, 589).  The traditional view that a grant of probation was an act of grace or clemency by the court has been discredited in favor of the modern view that probation is an alternative form of punishment that may be used as a correctional tool. (People v. Edwards (1976) 18 Cal. 3d 796, 801).

In the instant case, Defendant has rehabilitated himself, but continued probation only serves to hamper his rehabilitation efforts.