Are you on probation in Montana? Have you served at least 9 months of your probation? Did you know that if you meet these and certain requirements, you may be eligible to end your probation early?
Keep reading to learn more about conditional discharge in Montana.
What is a conditional discharge?
In Montana, if a person is convicted of a felony level crime and is serving probation, there is a process called conditional discharge. This allows that person to petition the court to allow them to end probation early and then later terminate the sentence early with the courts.
You can see why so many many Montanans are interested in conditional discharge.
Can I apply for a conditional discharge myself?
The processes of conditional discharge of probation and early termination of sentence are very complicated and must be done correctly, otherwise the petitions will be denied by the Court.
Going it alone is almost certainly a waste of time and money.
It is highly recommended that a person seeking these outcomes retain an experienced attorney to perform this type of work for them. The attorneys at the Judnich Law Office have years of experience with conditional discharge and have successfully petitioned on behalf of several of our clients for conditional discharge and early termination of their sentences.
Do recent changes in the law affect you?
Conditional discharge under title 46 of the Montana Code is nothing new.
However, the law itself underwent significant changes throughout the last couple of years. Now, as of the time of writing this article, the current law in Montana allows for someone convicted of a felony level offense to petition the sentencing court to end their probation early.
Here’s how it works:
1. Designation of risk level
The probationer must initially be designated a particular risk level by the office of probation; that triggers the timeline to Petition for early conditional discharge of probation. Presuming the probationer is designated a “low risk”, the probationer is eligible to petition the court for early discharge of probation after only serving nine (9) months of probation.
This designation is not necessarily related to the crime itself, but is an internal designation determined by Adult Probation & Parole. Knowing your designation is very important. Our attorneys can speak with your probation officer to determine your risk level designation.
2. Nothing is guaranteed
Even if you meet the requirements for a conditional discharge it is still up to the court to approve or deny. There are no guarantees.
The Court will then determine if it is in the best interest of society to allow the probationer to end their active probation early. If so, then the Court will order that active probation end for a successful probationer. Even if you have years and years of probation left from the original sentence, the Montana statutes do allow you to end that probation early.
3. Completing the process
If approved by the Court, the probationer will initially end their active probation early, which is termed “conditional discharge”. The next step of the process then becomes the early termination of the jurisdiction of the court over the case, called early termination of sentence. Once conditional discharge is granted, technically your probation ends, but the case itself still remains with the Court. The Court will continue to have jurisdiction over the person. Be aware that the Court could revoke a person’s sentence in some circumstances, even if they are no longer on probation.
This final step of early termination of sentence ends the jurisdiction of the court. The current law states that a minimum of twelve (12) months must elapse before a person granted conditional discharge is eligible to attempt to terminate the sentence early with the court.
Ready to learn more? Schedule your consultation!
The attorneys at the Judnich Law Office are ready to help you. Call our office at (406) 721-3354 or contact us online to schedule your free and confidential consultation. Learn if a conditional discharge is right for you.
Marty is a former criminal prosecutor in the Cascade County Attorney’s Office and now uses that experience to defend those accused of crimes. A University of Montana School of Law graduate, Marty focuses his practice on personal injury and criminal defense and is a premier DUI defense attorney. He is also well versed in the insurance claims industry and has negotiated significant settlements with nearly every major insurance company.