After you've completed your sentence, paid your fines and spent untold hours atoning for your crime, the requirement that you abide by the terms of your probation can feel like a serious insult. If you're like many rehabilitated individuals, you would prefer to end your probation early and get on with your life. This may be possible: In certain circumstances, California Penal Code Section 1203.2 allows for the early termination of probation for DUIs and other crimes.
The specifics of your case may determine whether a judge grants your request to terminate your probation. In California, not all DUI convictions are created equal. In fact, there are multiple factors that determine the perceived seriousness of a DUI charge. Ultimately, these factors may influence your prosecuting attorney's initial decision to enter your charge as a misdemeanor or a felony. As you might expect, it is far more difficult to alter the terms of probation for the latter.
Fortunately, relatively few California DUIs are charged as felonies. Before leveling felony charges in a DUI case, a prosecuting attorney must prove that the offense meets certain criteria. If it occurred at the scene of a multi-car accident that caused injuries to other motorists or was the driver's fourth such arrest within a 10-year period, a DUI arrest is likely to result in a felony charge. Otherwise, the charge is likely to be entered as a gross misdemeanor.
If your DUI was entered as a misdemeanor, Subdivision (b) of Penal Code Section 1203.2 permits your presiding judge to terminate your probation ahead of schedule. While the statute also permits early termination for felonies, it clearly states that such crimes must first be reclassified as misdemeanors. This adds another step to an already cumbersome process. In addition, the inherent severity of felony DUIs in California may give your judge pause as they decide whether to reclassify your crime.
If your DUI was not charged as a felony, your judge may grant your early termination request provided that you have adhered to the terms of your probation. You must be prompt and present for all meetings with your probation officer, pass all required drug screenings, find or actively seek employment, and remain current on all fines and other payments related to your offense. While California's legal system offers no guarantees, most judges will appreciate your efforts to make good on your part of the social compact.