It’s spring and you’re making plans to take your family on a summer vacation. You can’t wait to relax by the beach. But then you remember you are still serving probation for a criminal conviction from two years ago. Now the question is: Can you legally travel while on probation?
What is Probation? (PC 1203)
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony crime in California, your criminal defense attorney could ask the judge to “suspend” your sentence and grant probation instead of requiring you to serve time in jail or prison.
Probation gives you the opportunity to complete your sentence out of custody under what is known as “conditional release.” You are typically placed on probation for three to five years in California. If you successfully complete your probation, you may be able to have your guilty plea set aside.
There are two types of probation in California:
Felony probation – Also known as “formal probation” or “supervised probation,” this type of probation is available to those who were convicted of a felony offense. It requires you to check in frequently with your assigned probation officer.
Misdemeanor probation – Also known as “informal probation,” this type of probation does not require you to be supervised by a probation officer.
Traveling on Misdemeanor Probation
If you are on misdemeanor probation, you are free to travel. You have no probation officer, so you do not have to inform anyone of your travel plans.
However, the informal nature of misdemeanor probation does not give you complete freedom. You are required to fulfill all the conditions of your probation. If the terms of your probation require you to perform community service or regularly attend counseling sessions, you should not travel if it puts you at risk of failing to complete any of these probation conditions.
Traveling on Felony Probation
If you are on felony probation, the terms of your probation may state that you are not allowed to travel out of the county in which you reside. Before you travel out of the county, you should review the terms of your probation and consult with your probation officer. Based on the terms of your probation, your probation officer may be able to grant you permission to travel. So, what happens if the probation officer denies your request to travel?
An experienced criminal defense attorney from Wallin & Klarich can request that a judge make an exception to allow you to travel or he or she may be able to speak with your probation officer to convince him or her to allow you travel. Additionally, your criminal defense lawyer may be able to have your probation changed from formal to informal probation under PC 1203.03 if you have completed at least half of your probationary period.
What Happens if I Travel Without Permission from a Probation Officer?
If you leave the county while on formal probation, you are likely in violation of your probation. This means you could be arrested and be found by the judge to be in violation of your probation. This could lead to you having your probation revoked and serving your original sentence in custody.
Before you travel while on probation, you should speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer at Wallin & Klarich. We can help you determine if traveling would violate a condition of your probation and potentially help you end your probation early.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you wish to modify any of the conditions of your probation or you want to end your probation early, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich. Our skilled and knowledgeable lawyers have been successfully representing clients in probation matters for more than 40 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available near you no matter where you are located.
Call our office today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.