Can you get off probation early in Colorado?
Every person and case is different, but early termination of probation is possible in Colorado if the court decides to go this route. In Colorado, judges have the authority to release defendants from their probation before they’ve completed the full term. Generally, this means:
- You’ve paid off all your fines
- Completed at least half your probation
- Finished all court-ordered classes and treatment
In this article, we’ll explain a little bit more about how early termination of probation works in Colorado and help you understand if you might be a candidate for such an action. Bear in mind that the legal process can be quite confusing to navigate, which is why it’s often best to have the experience of a skilled attorney by your side who knows how to negotiate on your behalf.
Early Termination of Probation in Colorado: An Introduction
At the Law Offices of M. Colin Bresee, we often get calls from people who want to know what it takes to terminate their probation early. There are a few different factors that go into the early termination of probation.
1. Eligibility for Early Termination of Probation
First and foremost, you have to know if you are eligible for early termination of probation. This is usually told to you at the time of sentencing. For example, the judge will say, “You are sentenced to 2 years probation, but early termination is possible after one year.” This means that you MUST complete at least a year of probation before you can even ask the court if they can terminate your probation early. Now, this doesn’t mean that you will automatically be approved for early termination just because you waited the required year of your probation period.
2. Proof of Completion of the Terms of Probation
You also have to show that you have completed all of the terms of your probation. For example, if you were required to take alcohol classes, complete 24 hours of therapy, perform 36 hours of community service, plus pay all fines, costs, and restitution, you have to complete all of that before you can ask for early termination of your probation. If you still have fines and costs to pay, but you have completed everything else, you will not be granted early termination.
3. Filing the Motion for Early Termination of Probation
Included in this article, is a sample motion-for-early termination letter. You can print this out and fill in the information and file it with the court. This document is for Jefferson County, Colorado, so you’ll need to change it to match the county in which your case is if it’s not in Jefferson County.
This form has you check off all the things you have completed in order for the court to know that you completed your conditions of probation. Remember, the judge will always get the input of your probation officer, so don’t try to lie about any aspect of this motion, or you will be reprimanded, and your request for early termination will be denied. You also must get permission from your probation officer to even submit this request for early termination. If the probation officer objects at all, your request will be denied. The requirements for this motion are as follows:
- Completing all probation conditions as per the plea agreement (community service hours, regular check-ins, classes, alcohol/drug testing, treatment, etc.)
- Paying all fines, fees, costs, and restitution (obtain a financial report from the court and attach it)
- Avoiding new criminal charges, revocation hearings, instances of re-offending, or having any contact with law enforcement since the start of your probation sentence
- Remaining compliant with monitored sobriety with no missed or positive tests
- Affirming your probation officer has no objection to early termination
- Other requirements that had to be completed
Reason You Might Be Denied Early Termination of Probation
Although it might seem like it’s easy to complete your requirements and get early termination from probation, there can be a number of reasons why the district attorney (D.A.), probation officer, or judge objects to your request, such as age, criminal history, statements from victims, the prosecution’s position, your behavior, and the seriousness of the offense. The best thing you can do is stay compliant and be cordial to your probation officer. For some people, it is hard to comply with all of the probation requests. However, probation is not meant to be easy. It is meant to be hard, and most courts do not want to release you from their jurisdiction. Do not give anyone a reason to object to your request for early termination and it is more likely that they won’t.
Termination of Early Probation: Keeping Compliant During COVID-19
If you have early termination in your sights, don’t let the coronavirus be the reason the judge or your probation officer declines your wish. If you can’t see your probation officer in person, are you supposed to be making regular phone calls or meeting on video chats? Are you supposed to be submitting urine samples or taking classes outside of a classroom setting? While these are certainly unprecedented times, you don’t want to slack off due to COVID-19 restrictions. Use this time to show the court “good cause” and that you want to be off probation and are willing to do everything in your power to fulfill your obligations.
- Call your probation officer on time every time and ask him or her for advice if your classes or other probation requirements aren’t currently in operation
- Borrow a friend’s phone or computer if you don’t have the ability to attend virtual classes otherwise
- Look for ways to fulfill your community service obligations with essential services such as homeless shelters and rescue missions.
If you have any trouble with getting released from probation, contact an attorney for legal advice. M. Colin Bresee is an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney and is familiar with the process of asking for early termination of your probation in misdemeanor and felony criminal cases such as DUI/DWAI, domestic violence, drug offenses, and other criminal charges.
Example Motion for Early Termination of Probation
This is what the motion looks like. Follow the link below for a PDF of this motion.
Here is a list of all the counties in the state of Colorado that have probation departments.
For more information on topics like this, please visit the links below: