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Can My Probation Be Terminated Early in Colorado?

On behalf of Dolan + Zimmerman LLP November 3, 2021

For many people, being on probation feels like a gift because they avoided being sent to jail. For others, jail is a component of their probation sentence, which mean that probation really starts after their release from jail. Regardless of whether it represents a positive or a negative outcome, probation can be inconvenient. Whether the inconvenience is periodic meetings with a probation officer, drug testing, or just living with the constant stress of knowing that a misstep or new criminal charges can land you back in jail, it can be a difficult time. Fortunately, it is sometimes possible to have your probation terminated early.

A Judge Can Terminate Probation Early

Under Colorado law, it’s often possible to receive early termination of your probation based on the discretion of the court. The statute states the following: “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.”

This means that once you are finished with the active conditions of your probation, such as classes and community service, you and your attorney can request that your probation be terminated early if your compliance with probation has been good. This doesn’t mean it will be granted, though. To determine the conditions that will give you the best chance of receiving early termination, it will require that you speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who is experienced in handling this issue.

Improving Your Chances of Early Termination

While there’s no statutory requirement that you serve a specific amount of time on probation before you can seek early termination, there are steps you can take to set yourself up for success. Chances are, if you request early termination after being on probation for less than half of the probationary term, the judge will be less inclined to grant your request. Consider taking the following steps before requesting early termination:

Successfully complete the terms of your probation

While you can’t make time go faster, you can complete some or all of the terms of your probation before the end of your sentence. Pay off any fines that you owe and remain drug and alcohol-free and pass all drug screens if that’s a requirement. You should also obtain and maintain employment if required, complete any classes or tests that were mandated, and make sure you are following all of the conditions of your probation.

Develop a good argument for early termination

Finding good reasons for early termination will be your lawyer’s responsibility, but it is something you can certainly help your attorney obtain. Why do you want to receive early termination of your probation? Is the situation preventing you from getting the job you want? Is it stopping you from seeing your family or going back to school? If there is a solid reason for early termination and you’ve successfully completed all of the other requirements except for the length of time served, the judge is more likely to grant your request.

Speak With a Lawyer Who Can Help

If you believe you are a good candidate for early termination of your probation, you should always seek help from an experienced Boulder criminal defense attorney. They will know how to properly navigate this legal process.