How to File for a Community Service Extension

By Mary Jane Freeman
A judge pounding the gavel while sitting at the bench with paperwork.

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Courts sometimes order community service in lieu of, or in addition to, other forms of punishment for minor offenses. In some jurisdictions, an offender can request community service to avoid jail time. The volunteer work takes many forms, from delivering meals to the elderly to picking up trash on the side of highways. If you are unable to complete your term of community service by the court-imposed deadline, you may be able to request an extension of time from the court.

Community Service Assigned

When a court orders an offender to perform community service, he is provided with assignment details, the total number of hours that must be completed, and the date on which all hours must be finished. Typically, the offender must also pay a fee to complete the community service. Once signed up, the community service program monitors the offender's hours and forwards that information to the appropriate party, such as the court or the offender's probation officer.

Requesting Extension

If you fail to complete the required term of community service by the deadline, you have not complied with the court's order, but you may be able to request an extension. The procedure for doing so varies by jurisdiction but usually requires good reasons for not completely the service on time. In Santa Barbara, California, an offender requests an extension by providing the court with a status report of total hours completed and paying an extension fee. If the offender's probation officer ordered the community service, the request is made to the PO instead. In Anchorage, Alaska and Florida, offenders must request extensions from the court. If approved, the offender is given a new deadline to complete his community service and may have to pay additional fees.

About the Author

Based on the West Coast, Mary Jane Freeman has been writing professionally since 1994, specializing in the topics of business and law. Freeman's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including LegalZoom, Essence, Reuters and Chicago Sun-Times. Freeman holds a Master of Science in public policy and management and Juris Doctor. Freeman is self-employed and works as a policy analyst and legal consultant.

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