Answer: No, the probation officer does not have the power to terminate your probation, but your state may have an option for early terminate of probation by the court.
In the article that follows, we’ll explain.
Can a Probation Officer End Your Probation Early?
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Probation Officer’s Authority
The probation officer has the authority given to him by the terms of the probation order and by the statutes of the jurisdiction that apply.
The terms of the probation are set and ordered by the judge at the time of sentencing.
The judge decides how long probation is to last, and what the defendant can and cannot do during probation.
It is the probation officer’s duty to supervise the defendant’s compliance with the terms of the probation order.
The probation officer reports to the court and/or the prosecution when the defendant is not in compliance so that the government can pursue probation violation allegations to help get the defendant back on track.
Changing The Length of Probation
Generally, the probation officer has no power whatsoever to end probation early, or make it longer (extension).
Instead, when the probation officer wants to change something with the probation, the matter has to be brought before the judge.
For the probation officer, that is usually done via the prosecutor, since the probation officer isn’t a party to the case.
The motion to modify the terms of the probation could also be brought by the defendant and defense counsel.
In some states, there is an option to terminate a defendant’s probation early if the defendant meets all the requirements set by statute.
This type of statute usually requires that the defendant has served at least a year of the probation, has completed all the requirements of probation, and the probation officer/supervisor does not object.
However, some states do not have an option to terminate probation early.
In those cases, even if the PO wanted to close they case, he couldn’t.
Instead, what the PO would do is work less on the case and supervise the defendant loosely, if at all, and just want for the term of probation to end.
During this time, even if the PO wasn’t actively supervising, the defendant’s obligations to continue to follow the orders of the court would continue.
Ending Probation Due To Violations
On the other side of the coin, people ask whether a probation officer can terminate a defendant’s probation for failure to comply.
Like above, the probation officer has no authority to change the length or terms of the probation.
Instead, the PO would need to prepare a report of the observed violations and forward it to the prosecuting attorney/court to instigate a PV proceeding.
At that hearing, the prosecution (and the PO) could request that the court terminate the defendant’s probation before the end of the term, and request that the defendant be subject to a different sort of punishment (usually jail).
Getting Accurate Advice About Probation
If you aren’t sure about the details of your probation, the best place to start is by talking to your probation officer.
If there is an option to terminate early, he’ll know about it and he able to tell you whether it is something you qualify for or he will support.
If you don’t feel like your probation officer is trying to help you, you can always seek out the advice of an attorney, who can also assist you in filing the necessary documentation if an early termination is available in your jurisdiction.
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