By: Rudy Serra
Q: Can you get off probation early? My spouse is on probation for a year. He was convicted of domestic vio- lence (third offense) and ordered to go to three AA meetings a week and take a prevention class. We also have a no con- tact order in place. Can we get this reversed, or change the no contact order?
A: Yes. The sentencing judge has the authority to release a person from probation early. They also have the au- thority to revoke probation and put your husband in jail, or to make the probation longer. Extending probation is a common punishment for a minor violation, but a probationer can be jailed for contempt of court for any violation of the order or probation.
The chance of actually having probation ended before scheduled, however, is remote. Since this is a third offense, the court will want to be convinced that there is a strong reason to end probation early. Your question does not include any reason why early release would be warranted or how long the probation has lasted so far.
A “no contact” order is common in domestic violence cases. It forbids anyone from contacting your husband on your behalf, or vice versa. Of course, the order is an order of the court, and not an order from you or from your husband. Neither of you can change it. You must ask the court to do that.
Most courts rely a lot on their probation officers. If your probation officer recommends lifting the no-contact order, it is more likely the judge will do so. Even that probation officer, however, would be required to provide reasons. Since this is the third time the courts have been involved in your relationship, the passage of time alone may not be enough. The court will want some assurance that the pattern of misbehavior will stop.
Probation is considered a “break.” When a person is on probation, they could have been sentenced to jail. The court is giving them the opportunity to remain in the community and to demonstrate that they should not be punished with jail time. When you break your break by violating a term of probation, there is a good chance you will be found in con- tempt of court and jailed.
In cases involving alcohol, drugs, or other addictions, there are added problems. It is common for an addict to be involved in a relationship with a person who is a “co-alcoholic” or “co-addict.” Such an individual is always on the side of the addict, blames other people or circumstances for the problems and wants to bail out the addict or otherwise “save” the alcoholic from the consequences of their choice to drink. For these reasons, simply wanting a no-contact order lifted is not enough.
“JUDGE RUDY REPORTS” is a regular fea- ture in Ferndale Friends. This “ask the law- yer” format column welcomes questions from readers. If you have a legal question or concern, send your question by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Advice about specific cases or individuals cannot be provided but general legal questions and topics are welcome.
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