We’ve made many posts on our blog about the factors that help or hurt when asking the courts to cut terms of federal probation short. This post specifically addresses how its done, and the most common questions we hear about the process.
Filing A Request for Early Termination of Federal Probation
When filing a motion in court, all parties involved in the case must get a copy of the document. In this case, the document is a motion asking the court to cut a term of probation or supervised release short. Criminal cases have only three parties:
- The Court;
- The Defendant; and,
- The Prosecutor’s office.
So, when a defendant is ready to file, two other parties need copies: the Court and the prosecutor. To file with the court, just address the envelope to the Clerk of the Court and try to find the Clerk’s room number online to get it there easier. For the prosecutor, a specific addressee is good, but sending your motion addressed only the Office of the United States Attorney will normally do the trick. (Locate your United States Attorney’s Office)
Side note: While its not required to submit a copy of the motion to the federal probation office, its a good idea to do so as a courtesy.
[simple_tooltip bubblewidth=’200′ content=’Send two copies of the motion to the Clerk. One for them, one for the judge. This saves them the hassle of making copies themselves and saves you from unwanted delays.’]Mouse-over here for a pro tip![/simple_tooltip]
Here’s some good news for you. An open criminal case requires no fee to file motions. The government opened the case file, so any documents that come after the initial complaint don’t cost anything.
Envelopes and stamps, however, are another story. These are not provided free of charge by the court. Sorry.
[simple_tooltip bubblewidth=’300′ content=’File electronically for free by signing up for the Electronic Court Filing system, if you are brave enough to try and figure that system out. Most courts now require electronic filing by lawyers, but make a paper copy exception for pro se filers, like you. ‘]Mouse-over for pro tip #2![/simple_tooltip]
Certificate of Service
When filing documents in a court case for small claims, county, and state courts, all parties involved must get a copy of the filing being put on the docket. Same goes for federal court. However, there is one big difference.
In a federal probation case, a Sheriff or service doesn’t have to be used to deliver the documents to all parties. There are many reasons for this, but they aren’t really important. The point here is that a defendant can mail all the copies out and not have to pay a service to legally do it for them. To make this work, and document called a “Certificate of Service” must accompany all documents that are intended to be filed.
When a motion to terminate a term of federal probation, the certificate of service goes with each envelope. One to the prosecutor, one to the clerk of the court. If you get in touch, we’ll even e-mail you an example of a Certificate of Service you can use.
[simple_tooltip bubblewidth=’350′ content=’For filing paper copies, be sure your Certificate of Service cites your local rule of criminal procedure (usually rule 49) that adds paper copy filing exceptions for pro se defendants.’]Mouse-over for pro tip #3[/simple_tooltip]
There are far too many issues to delve into when it comes to writing a motion like this here, and each motion and issue is personal. Fill-in-the-blank motions aren’t very effective because there are eight laws and nine policy factors that go into a single decision a judge makes about modifying a defendant’s sentence.
Don’t be fooled by the seemingly small nature of this request. Ending a term of federal probation before its natural expiration is, legally, a sentence reduction and judges take those seriously. You can read up on some of our posts regarding what judges look at in these types of motions here, here, and here. Look to the upper right to read all our blog posts regarding federal probation and supervised release, but those three are good to get started.
What We Do
Here at PCR Consultants, we know how to do it all. We do the heavy lifting so you don’t have to become an expert in all the things you just read about. If you choose to file a request to federal court yourself, you now have the tools to do it. That is, assuming, that you crafted a legally sound, well argued, correctly formatted motion that won’t get dismissed for a technical fault (like applying before the one-year point)
Our service is simple. We put together all the paperwork like any other document preparation service, except we don’t do Wills or Divorces. We do Federal Probation and Supervised Release. Get in contact to find out how we can help.