A lot of my clients are calling me because a new law took effect January 1, 2021 that basically says that all felony probations are now two years. This is due to probation reform under California Assembly Bill 1950
There are some exceptions, but not that many, so in most circumstances, you're going to be able to get a resolution where, if you have to plead to a felony, you'll only be put on probation for two years versus the normal three to five years.
This is also significant for people who are already on probation. Some people have a three-year probation and already two years have gone by and now they're looking to get their case taken care of where they're not on probation.
This is significant, because then you don't have register with the Probation Department, you don't have to pay the them and you don't risk some sort of a violation where they try to send you to jail or prison.
Automatically Retroactive vs Court Appearance
So, where I've seen some issues come in is, is it automatic that the probation terminates retroactively, or do you actually have to physically do into court and ask the judge or tell the judge, it's now two years, so I don't want to be on probation anymore.
I don't want to be watched by the Probation Department. I don't want to pay the Probation Department. So, that's really where you're going to need an attorney, in my opinion.
I've had judges tell me, your client is no longer on probation Mr. Hedding, because by operation of law, the new law has taken effect. Therefore, it's been more than two years, so they're not on probation anymore. So, the judges, a lot of times, don't really feel like they have to affirmatively do anything.
What I have clients do is to go to the Probation Department and tell their probation officer that they're not on probation anymore. It's been over two years. A new law took effect. My attorney told me I'm not on probation and then see what they say.
If they say something counter to that, then we have to go into court and have the judge order them to terminate the probation. If on the other hand, they agree, then you're good. That way you cover yourself.
You don't want to be in a position where they're claiming there's a probation violation and somehow you get arrested, and then they sort it out after you've spent some time in jail or bailed out or whatever the case may be.
Felony Reduced to Misdemeanor
So, that's great news. Now, for felony cases in Los Angeles county, for the most part — there are some exceptions — but for the most part, you're only on probation for two years.
After that, if it's the type of felony that could be reduced to a misdemeanor, we could file a motion to reduce it to a misdemeanor and then we can dismiss it from your record.
It used to be called expungement, but that term was a bit deceptive because it never really goes away, it just shows as a dismissed case.
So, if you want to know the ins and outs of what's going on in probation cases, you need some help from a criminal defense attorney, you've come to the right place.
I've worked for the DA's office, a Superior Court Judge, and I've been the guiding force behind the Hedding Law Firm now since 1994.
Set up a meeting with me if you're looing to hire an attorney to help you with a probation case.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436.
We serve clients throughout Southern California, including LA County, Orange County, Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, Sime Valley, Westlake Village, Hollywood, Riverside, and San Bernardino.
Contact our firm for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.