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Modifying Probation Terms in California

by Lindsay Chambers

For many misdemeanor and felony convictions, a judge might enact a probation sentence instead of incarceration. If you are under probation, you may have to meet regularly with your probation officer. You might also have to accept specific conditions imposed by the court. For example, complying with your probation agreement’s terms could require you to refrain from traveling outside a designated area without getting specific permission from your probation officer.

However, at any point during your probation period, you can petition the court to modify your probation’s terms. In some circumstances, you can appeal for early termination of your probation, request that a judge reduce a felony to a misdemeanor or ask the court to shorten or eliminate the rest of your incomplete jail sentence. California Penal Code Section 1203.3 grants California courts the authority to make such changes.

How to Request a Probation Modification

If you’re currently on probation and have fulfilled all the terms of your agreement thus far, you can submit a formal request to modify specific conditions after securing representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney to make a case on your behalf. Before a judge agrees to modify any term or condition of your probation, they must hear your case in court.

The guidelines for a sentence modification hearing are as follows:

  • You must provide your probation officer with written notice of your request.
  • Your attorney should give the prosecution written notice and an opportunity to voice any objections.
  • The law requires you to submit written notice at least five days in advance if you are asking the court to consider changing or dismissing a protective order in a case involving domestic violence.
  • If the judge decides to modify the sentence or conditions of the probation agreement, they must state their reasons for doing so on the record.

Reasons to Change Your Probation’s Terms

Your legal counsel may successfully convince a judge to alter your probation’s terms if you can prove that your experience has reformed you for the better. A lawyer may also petition for a modification if your circumstances change or if unforeseen events occur that count as “good cause” for a judge to rule in favor of probation modification.

If given sufficient reason, a judge can change your probation’s conditions in various ways, including the following:

  • Allowing you to complete an accredited drug or alcohol treatment program in lieu of serving a prison sentence
  • Letting you do community service instead of paying a fine
  • Reducing specific terms so you can seek employment
  • Modifying jail time to monitored home confinement
  • Lifting travel limitations

Finding Qualified Legal Representation in Southern California

Being on probation can be frustrating because the terms of these agreements are often quite restrictive. At the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower, we can represent you in a probation modification hearing and help you regain some of your freedom. Our legal team has tackled some of the most challenging court cases, and we will defend you with all the respect you deserve. To learn more, please reach out to us today.

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