Former D.A.: How to succeed at “misdemeanor probation”

Usually with a
misdemeanor probation, there’s no probation officer
that you have to report to. And usually you don’t
have to pay fees to the probation department. Those are things that
happen in a situation where you’re on
felony probation. Now like I said, if you
violate your probation, the judge can send you to jail
for up to the maximum term. So for example, suppose
you’re on probation for DUI, and DUI carries a maximum term
of six months in county jail. You’re ordered to do AB541,
the first offender class. You blow it off. You don’t do your classes. The judge has discretion
to bring you into court, violate your probation,
and sentence you to six months in jail. So even though
misdemeanor probation is less serious than
felony probation, it’s still very important that
you complete all your terms and conditions. Moreover, as long as you
do complete the terms and conditions, as long as you
don’t violate your probation, at the end of the case,
you would be entitled to have an expungement. And that’s where you
withdraw your plea of guilty or no contest and
ultimately have the case dismissed. Another question I
often get is, can I terminate my probation early? And the answer is many
times it’s possible. Many times, for example,
you’re sentenced to three years probation. And we can go to court
after one year or 18 months and the judge, look, our client
has completed all the terms and conditions, has stayed out
of trouble, needs to get a job and being on probation is
hindering his or her ability to get employment. Many times we can
convince the judge to terminate probation and
grant you an expungement early. Even if you’ve been
placed on probation, it’s useful to have an attorney. It’s useful to
work with counsel. In situations where we
have a client on probation, we monitor them
throughout the period, make sure that they get all
of their terms and conditions completed, and make
sure that everything is satisfied with the court. And as I’ve said,
many times they are able to get an early
termination of probation, and ultimately, get the
matter expunged and taken off their record.

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