Broken ball and chainThis is the next post in a series of articles discussing early termination of probation in Austin, Texas. My previous post reviewed the process of seeking to end one’s probation earlier than the originally sentenced term. It also emphasized the importance of retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist with evaluating the case and presenting evidence to the court in an effective way. In this article, I will review what impact terminating probation early may have on one’s future. If you need assistance with a probation issue, contact my office today to speak to an Austin criminal defense lawyer.

As discussed in this series, in some circumstances, it is possible to obtain an early termination of a probation term. Successfully petitioning the court to grant this request is beneficial for several reasons. For those serving “straight” probation for a criminal conviction, a criminal record reflecting a reduced term of probation is more favorable than one reflecting incarceration or even a full-term of probation. For those given deferred adjudication probation, your case will be dismissed at the end of the probationary period. The sooner the probation is ended and the case dismissed, the sooner your attorney can begin the process of sealing the criminal records. Furthermore, once ended, the probationer will no longer have to comply with the sometimes strict conditions of supervision. This will not only be less disruptive in one’s daily activities, but will also eliminate the chances that one may inadvertently fail to comply with the conditions leading to a revocation of probation.

It is important to understand, however, that probation, even though less onerous than incarceration, is a criminal sentence. One’s criminal record reflects arrests, convictions, and sentences ordered by the court. This means that, unless the probationer seeks and obtains an order of nondisclosure to seal their criminal records, probation will remain on one’s criminal record after the term of probation ends. Probation will be discoverable on criminal background checks conducted by employers, apartment managers, etc. As a result, you may have difficulty gaining employment, maintaining professional licenses, or finding housing. Furthermore, depending upon the nature of the underlying criminal offense, you may be prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm under federal law. As referenced above, depending upon the facts of your specific case, it may be possible to seek an order of nondisclosure after the probation period ends to effectively seal one’s criminal record and prevent the information from being publicly available. An experienced attorney can explain this process and whether you may be eligible.

Those on probation are often motivated to take advantage of their second chance. When possible, one should seek early termination of the probation term. If you are on probation and have questions about the early termination process, my office is ready to assist you. Contact us today to speak with an Austin criminal defense lawyer. My office also serves the cities of Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, and San Marcos, Texas.