Legal Review: Can I Travel Out of State While on Probation?

If you are convicted of a crime, you can expect several outcomes at sentencing, one of which could be probation. Probation means you do not have to serve time in jail, which can be quite a relief.

However, not serving time in prison doesn’t mean your life will not be disrupted. Sometimes the terms of probation can be so restrictive that keeping them is almost impossible. If you are taking probation as part of a plea deal, it is best to work with a criminal defense lawyer to ensure that the terms of your probation match your charge.

There are also situations where probation is a condition for release for individuals that have served extended time in prison, which also comes with strict control.

You Can Travel But With Restrictions

One significant restriction which comes with probation is out-of-state travel. However, the restrictions can vary based on the terms of individual probation sentences and the underlying circumstances, such as if the person serving the probation had done time for a felony offense.

If you get probation as a first-time offender or through a plea deal, the terms of your probation could be much lighter, and the probation officer may not be so rigid in granting a request to travel when necessary, for example, for a job. But travel restrictions may be much stricter if your probation comes after serving considerable jail time or a felony conviction. Under such circumstances, the probation officer and the court may deem you a flight risk requiring you to report to the probation officer every few days.

But even then, the probation officer has the liberty to grant your request to travel based on the seriousness of your reason for travel. However, you must maintain contact with your probation officer the entire time and communicate any change of plans to avoid a violation of your probation terms.

Probation Violations

If there are reasonable grounds for suspicion of probation terms violations, your probation officer can order your arrest. Under such circumstances, they do not need to get a warrant of arrest or serve the judge with an affidavit. If convicted for probation violations, you risk facing additional sentencing.

In most cases, violation of probation terms results in prison sentences. If you are charged with probation terms violation, you may want to speak to a criminal defense lawyer for help securing a favorable outcome.

It may also be possible to modify your probation terms depending on your state of residence with the help of a lawyer and your probation officer. However, a review of probation terms mainly depends on a probationer’s compliance with the terms in a given period.

In some states, the waiting period for a term’s review is six months. In others, you have to wait until you are halfway through your probation period. Either way, good conduct is a significant factor in determining your success in having your terms reviewed.

A Lawyer Can Help

It is not a legal requirement to maintain contact with your lawyer throughout your probation period. But you may still want to keep them close because you may encounter complications.

For instance, poor communication can hinder your chances of getting travel clearance, so you may want to channel your communication with the probation officer through your lawyer for such matters. Alternatively, you can involve them when you encounter challenges in your quest to get clearance.

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