Under 18 U.S.C. § 3564(c), a federal court may modify or terminate a term of probation, or supervised release, that has been previously imposed. For a federal misdemeanor, a term of probation can be modified or terminated at any time. For felonies, however, the defendant must have completed at least one year of their federal probation before the Court may modify or terminate the sentence.
In deciding whether to terminate probation early, the Court will consider the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. 3553(a). The 3553(a) factors include: the nature and circumstances of the offense, the history and characteristics of the defendant, the need for the sentence imposed to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law, and to provide just punishment for the offense, the need for the sentence imposed to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct, the need for the sentence imposed to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant, the need for the sentence imposed to provide the defendant with needed educational or vocational training, medical care, or other correctional treatment, and the need for the sentence imposed to avoid unwarranted sentence disparities among defendants with similar records who have been found guilty of similar conduct.
After a defendant files a petition to have their sentence modified or terminated, it is the Judge’s decision whether probation should be terminated early. This judge will often be the same judge that imposed the original sentence. In most cases, judges deny requests; however, certain factors can strengthen a defendant’s request for early termination of probation. Overall, to successfully terminate a term of probation, the defendant must show that they have earned it through good conduct, and it would be in the interests of justice.
Judges may consider the following factors in their determination of a request to terminate or modify the term of probation:
- Whether your probation officer and the Prosecutor support your request;
- The nature and seriousness of the crime you were convicted of;
- Your criminal history and/or mental illness history;
- Whether the judge believes you are a threat to the public;
- Whether the judge believes you have been sufficiently punished;
- Whether you have completed any substance abuse treatment or rehabilitation programs;
- How your sentence compares to the federal sentencing guidelines recommended sentence;
- U. S. Sentencing Commission policy statements;
- Whether you’ve paid restitution to the victims.