How Can Your Probation/Supervised Release be Terminated Early?

In the U.S. federal system, a term of supervised release can, in certain circumstances, be terminated early. Here’s a breakdown of the process and considerations:

1.    Statutory Requirements: According to 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(1), after an individual has served at least one year of supervised release, the court may terminate the term of supervised release and discharge the individual if it is satisfied that such action is warranted by the conduct of the defendant and the interests of justice.

2.    Good Conduct: One of the most significant factors the court will consider is the individual’s conduct during supervised release. Adhering to all conditions of release, not incurring any new criminal charges, and demonstrating responsible behavior will be crucial.

3.    Completion of Programs: Successfully completing required programs or treatments, such as drug rehabilitation or counseling, can also be a persuasive factor in favor of early termination.

4.    Petitioning the Court: To initiate the process, a motion or petition must typically be filed with the sentencing court requesting early termination of the supervised release. This can be done by the individual on supervised release or their attorney.

5.    Probation Officer’s Recommendation: The court will often seek input from the probation officer supervising the individual. A positive recommendation from the probation officer, indicating that the individual has been compliant and that continued supervision is not necessary, can be influential.

6.    Prosecutor’s Input: The court might also seek input from the prosecutor’s office. While not binding, the prosecutor’s stance can influence the court’s decision.

7.    Benefits to the Individual: In the motion or petition, it’s essential to outline why early termination would be beneficial. This could include factors like stable employment, family support, or other positive changes in circumstances.

8.    The “Interests of Justice”: This is a broad standard, and the court has discretion in determining what serves the interests of justice. Factors could include the nature of the original offense, the individual’s criminal history, the length of time already served on supervised release, and more.

9.    No Guarantee: It’s crucial to understand that early termination is at the court’s discretion, and there’s no guarantee that a request will be granted, even if the individual has been compliant with all conditions.

10.Effective Counsel: If you or someone you know is considering seeking early termination of federal supervised release, it’s highly advisable to consult with a competent attorney or advisor who can provide guidance specific to the individual’s circumstances.

Do you want to terminate your Supervised Release early? We can help! We begin preparing you for success by recommending the steps you can and should be taking to improve the likelihood of approval. In most instances you should wait at least one year or one half of your term of Supervised Release, whichever is greater, but there’s no hard and fast rule. That gives you time to plan. Getting off Supervised Release also requires a motion to your judge. We can also assist you in drafting that motion in a way that improves your chances for a positive outcome.

It’s worth noting that successful cases for early termination often involve a combination of factors: the individual’s exemplary behavior, the nature of the original offense, the amount of time already served on supervised release, and other individual circumstances that argue in favor of ending supervision.

Sam Mangel
Member: American Bar Association