Nevada law gives judges discretion to grant early termination of probation to defendants who meet various conditions, such as compliance with all the terms of their probation, avoiding any new arrests, and paying victim restitution if applicable.
There are many advantages to getting an early discharge from probation, such as:
- civil rights will be restored quicker (for Nevada felony defendants);
- there is no more risk of violating probation; and
- being able to return to normal life sooner
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss how early termination of probation works in Nevada, including procedures and eligibility:
- 1. Probation definition
- 2. Common terms of probation
- 3. Length of probation
- 4. Shortening probation
- 5. Restoring civil rights
Probation is an alternative punishment to incarceration in some Nevada criminal cases. People on probation may be out of custody, but they still have to comply with various court orders as a condition of remaining out of custody.
Defendants convicted of minor misdemeanors in Nevada usually get “informal probation”: They are not assigned a probation officer, though they have to complete various court orders such as staying out of trouble.
In contrast, defendants convicted of serious felonies may get “intensive supervision.” These defendants usually have to submit to electronic monitoring in Nevada and several other requirements that limit their movements and actions.
Although probation can be very inconvenient, it is obviously preferable to incarceration because the defendant gets to remain out of custody. Note that sometimes judges will sentence a defendant to a jail or prison term which will then be followed by a period of probation.
Judges determine which probationary terms to impose on a case-by-case basis. For instance, defendants convicted of the Nevada crime of drug possession (NRS 453.336) will likely be ordered to submit to random drug testing as a term of their probation.
Fifteen common terms of probation in Nevada include:
- avoiding any further arrests
- regular “check-ins” with the probation officer
- showing up to court so the judge can monitor progress
- paying fines and restitution
- staying away from certain locations
- not contacting certain people related to the criminal case
- not possessing any weapons
- attending counseling and/or rehab
- abstaining from drugs and/or alcohol
- remaining employed or in school
- completing community service in Nevada
- wearing a location-tracking GPS device
- wearing a Nevada SCRAM alcohol-detection device
- submitting to drug tests (scheduled or unannounced)
- following curfew or remaining home on house arrest in Nevada
Probationers who allegedly violate their probation are entitled to a probation violation hearing in Nevada. Judges can remand probationers to jail just for violating one of their terms. But judges can also give them a second chance to remain on probation if they have a good enough excuse.
When determining the length or a probationary period, the judge takes into account recommendations by the Nevada Department of Public Safety Division of Parole and Probation.
Minor cases may have probationary periods as short as a year or a few months. Probation may last for up to 12 months for gross misdemeanors, 18 months for category E felonies, 24 months for category D or E felonies, 36 months for category B felonies, and 60 months for violent or sex offenses.1
The Division of Parole and Probation must petition the court recommending early termination of probation when:
- The defendant has not violated any conditions of probation during the past 12 months;
- The defendant is current with any fee to defray the costs of the supervision;
- The defendant has paid restitution in full or, because of economic hardship that is verified by the Division, has been unable to make restitution as ordered by the court;
- The defendant has completed any court-ordered program (such as substance abuse, etc.); and
- The defendant has not been convicted of a violent or sexual offense as defined in NRS 202.876 or a violation of NRS 200.508.
If a defendant does not meet these requirements, the defendant may still ask for early termination of probation. First, the probationer’s attorney files a motion for “early termination of probation” with the court. Then the judge contacts the D.A. and probation officer for their input; the judge may also hold a court hearing on the matter. Finally, the judge decides whether to grant or deny the request.
Note that there are some judges in Las Vegas who never grant early termination of probation in any case. And the remaining judges consider it on a case-by-case basis. These judges will be more likely to grant early termination of probation if the following two conditions are met:
- the probationer has been compliant with all terms of probation, and
- the probationer has paid all the restitution (if the court-ordered any)
Judges may consider additional factors as well. Just some of them are:
- the number of prior criminal convictions sustained by the person
- the number of any other criminal prosecutions pending against the person
- the number of years that elapsed since the person’s most recent previous conviction
- the number of times in which the person has been supervised as an adult or juvenile probationer
- the nature of the present offense and the number of persons victimized
Read more about factors for early termination of probation in Nevada.
Defendants discharged from probation immediately get their rights to serve on a civil jury restored. But they need to wait four (4) more years to get back their right to hold office. And their right to serve on a criminal jury is restored six (6) years after the discharge. Learn more about discharge from probation in Nevada (NRS 176A.850).
Note that people who apply for and are granted an unconditional pardon in Nevada get their civil rights restored immediately.2
To learn about early termination of probation in California criminal cases, go to our article on early termination of probation in California criminal cases. For Colorado cases, see our page on early termination of probation in Colorado.
- AB 236 (2019); NRS 176A.500 Authority of court to fix duration; limitations; arrest for alleged violation; powers and duties of peace officers; deduction of days.1. The period of probation or suspension of sentence may be indeterminate or may be fixed by the court and may at any time be extended or terminated by the court, but the period, including any extensions thereof, must not be more than:(a) Three years for a:(1) Gross misdemeanor; or(2) Suspension of sentence pursuant to NRS 176A.260, 176A.290 or 453.3363; or(b) Five years for a felony.
- NRS 176A.850 Honorable discharge from probation: When granted; ineligibility; restoration of civil rights; effect; documentation.1. A person who:(a) Has fulfilled the conditions of probation for the entire period thereof;(b) Is recommended for earlier discharge by the Division; or(c) Has demonstrated fitness for honorable discharge but because of economic hardship, verified by the Division, has been unable to make restitution as ordered by the court,--> may be granted an honorable discharge from probation by order of the court.2. A person whose term of probation has expired and:(a) Whose whereabouts are unknown;(b) Who has failed to make restitution in full as ordered by the court, without a verified showing of economic hardship; or(c) Who has otherwise failed to qualify for an honorable discharge as provided in subsection 1,--> is not eligible for an honorable discharge and must be given a dishonorable discharge. A dishonorable discharge releases the person from any further obligation, except as otherwise provided in subsection 3.3. Any amount of restitution remaining unpaid constitutes a civil liability arising upon the date of discharge and is enforceable pursuant to NRS 176.275.4. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 5, a person who has been discharged from probation:(a) Is free from the terms and conditions of probation.(b) Is immediately restored to the right to serve as a juror in a civil action.(c) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (d), is immediately restored to the right to vote.
(d) Two years after the date of discharge from probation, is restored to the right to vote if the person has previously been convicted in this State:
(1) Of a category B felony involving the use of force or violence.
(2) Of an offense involving the use of force or violence that would constitute a category B felony if committed as of the date of discharge from probation.
(e) Four years after the date of discharge from probation, is restored to the right to hold office.
(f) Six years after the date of discharge from probation, is restored to the right to serve as a juror in a criminal action.
(g) If the person meets the requirements of NRS 179.245, may apply to the court for the sealing of records relating to the conviction.
(h) Must be informed of the provisions of this section and NRS 179.245 in the person’s probation papers.
(i) Is exempt from the requirements of chapter 179C of NRS, but is not exempt from the requirements of chapter 179D of NRS.
(j) Shall disclose the conviction to a gaming establishment and to the State and its agencies, departments, boards, commissions and political subdivisions, if required in an application for employment, license or other permit. As used in this paragraph, “establishment” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 463.0148.
(k) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (j), need not disclose the conviction to an employer or prospective employer.
5. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the civil rights set forth in subsection 4 are not restored to a person discharged from probation if the person has previously been convicted in this State:
(a) Of a category A felony.
(b) Of an offense that would constitute a category A felony if committed as of the date of discharge from probation.
(c) Of a category B felony involving the use of force or violence that resulted in substantial bodily harm to the victim.
(d) Of an offense involving the use of force or violence that resulted in substantial bodily harm to the victim and that would constitute a category B felony if committed as of the date of discharge from probation.
(e) Two or more times of a felony, unless a felony for which the person has been convicted arose out of the same act, transaction or occurrence as another felony, in which case the convictions for those felonies shall be deemed to constitute a single conviction for the purposes of this paragraph.
--> A person described in this subsection may petition a court of competent jurisdiction for an order granting the restoration of civil rights as set forth in subsection 4.
6. The prior conviction of a person who has been discharged from probation may be used for purposes of impeachment. In any subsequent prosecution of the person, the prior conviction may be pleaded and proved if otherwise admissible.
7. Except for a person subject to the limitations set forth in subsection 5, upon discharge from probation, the person so discharged must be given an official document which provides:
(a) That the person has received an honorable discharge or dishonorable discharge, as applicable, from probation;
(b) That the person is restored to his or her civil rights to vote and to serve as a juror in a civil action as of the applicable dates set forth in paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) of subsection 4;
(c) The date on which the person’s civil right to hold office will be restored pursuant to paragraph (e) of subsection 4; and
(d) The date on which the person’s civil right to serve as a juror in a criminal action will be restored pursuant to paragraph (f) of subsection 4.
8. Subject to the limitations set forth in subsection 5, a person who has been discharged from probation in this State or elsewhere and whose official documentation of discharge from probation is lost, damaged or destroyed may file a written request with a court of competent jurisdiction to restore the person’s civil rights pursuant to this section. Upon verification that the person has been discharged from probation and is eligible to be restored to the civil rights set forth in subsection 4, the court shall issue an order restoring the person to the civil rights set forth in subsection 4. A person must not be required to pay a fee to receive such an order.
9. A person who has been discharged from probation in this State or elsewhere may present:
(a) Official documentation of discharge from probation, if it contains the provisions set forth in subsection 7; or
(b) A court order restoring the person’s civil rights,
--> as proof that the person has been restored to the civil rights set forth in subsection 4.
See Election Department : Ex-Felons: Restoring Voting Rights, Clark County, Nevada.