If you’re on probation, can you leave the state?
Being on probation in the aftermath of a criminal trial can put your life on hold in several ways. You’ll have to follow the Texas probation requirements – keeping in touch with your probation officer, appearing in front of the court when necessary, refraining from contact with individuals who could be engaging in criminal activities, etc. Meeting the probation conditions is essential, meaning some lifestyle changes will be required.
If you’re about to take a vacation trip or need to leave the state on business, however, you may wonder if the probation will interfere with such activities. Here’s everything you need to know about out-of-state travel in the aftermath of a criminal conviction.
What Are the Terms of Felony Probation?
Texas felony probation rules differ based on the prisoner, the conviction, and if the sentencing court imposed additional probation restrictions. In general, felony probation in Texas requires defendants to:
- Attend their regularly scheduled probation officer meetings on time, every time. These meetings are generally held once a month, although a court may order an alternative probation meeting schedule.
- Maintain employment in a dependable and legal occupation.
- Consume no alcohol, illegal drugs, or other regulated substances.
- Allow probation officers to make unexpected visits to people’s homes and workplaces.
- Allow their probation officers to perform unannounced and random searches.
- Keep your distance from criminal companions. In other words, they are not permitted to interact or spend time with people who may influence them to commit another crime.
- Perform a certain quantity of community service.
- Request permission before relocating, changing jobs, or traveling outside of Texas.
- All court charges, monitoring fees, and fines must be paid.
- No laws should be broken. This applies to all federal, state, and local laws and directions from foreign countries.
- They must submit to regular drug tests conducted by their probation supervisors.
Probation Travel Permit
As a general rule of thumb, individuals on probation do not have the right to leave Texas without receiving probation officer permission.
Thus, the nature of the trip and the specific circumstances will have to be examined to determine whether leaving Texas is permissible.
Permission to travel temporarily is typically granted for up to 30 days. Getting a permit for an extended time out of Texas will be much more difficult. If you must be out of Texas for more than a month, law enforcement professionals in the respective state will have to be notified about a probationer traveling.
The relationship you’ve established with your probation officer will be the determining factor for out-of-state travel. Some probation officers grant permits much more freely than others. The nature of the criminal offense you’ve committed will also play a significant role in the final decision.
What happens if you leave the state while on probation?
In some instances, the terms and conditions of the probation itself will make travel out of Texas impossible.
If you have such a clause as part of your probation arrangement and violate it, you risk severe consequences. Whenever an individual is found to violate their probation conditions, fines and additional sanctions will be imposed.
You should always talk to your lawyer and your probation officer if you intend to travel out of state. A criminal defense attorney in Texas could be capable of modifying the probation conditions, including a reduction of the timeframe.
Travel restrictions could also be removed, but a reconsideration of the probation occurs case-by-case basis.
Permanent Relocation on Probation
The information provided so far refers to short-term travel out of Texas. If you plan to leave the state and relocate to another part of the US, however, the situation will be different.
When you want to leave the state, your probation officer will request an interstate compact probation transfer.
This type of transfer will be available in some situations. Just because the option exists, however, does not mean you’re going to be granted an out-of-state transfer. There is sufficient paperwork and a waiting period before your application is approved.
The application process itself also comes with travel restrictions. While your documents are being reviewed, you are deprived of the opportunity to leave the state. Out-of-Texas travel can occur only after you get your permit for permanent relocation.
To travel out of Texas, you must discuss the situation with your probation officer regardless of the circumstances. Most probation officers will make rational and unbiased decisions in such cases. If you believe that your officer is rejecting your travel requests without a specific reason, you can turn to court and challenge the decision. A judge can overrule a probation officer, but the process can be complicated. You should solely engage in this procedure if the trip out of the state is essential.