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Summary Probation California Leaving The State
In California, people on summary probation can generally leave the state. However, any out-of-state travels cannot infringe on their ability to meet the other terms of their probation. Breaking any of those terms can violate probation. If this happens, probation may be revoked. The probationer can be sent to jail for the remainder of his or her sentence.
Typically, California judges do not impose travel restrictions on defendants who are being sentenced to summary probation. This is because summary probation does not require the defendant to meet with a probation officer on a regular basis. Instead, the probationer meets with a judge, in court. These meetings are often less frequent.
Summary probation is also known under California’s criminal law as:
It is one of two types of probation in the state of California. The other is felony probation, which is also known as formal probation.
Both of these forms of probation are meant to supervise a defendant who has been convicted of a crime. They supervise the defendant without sending him or her to jail. In lieu of jail time, the defendant has to comply with a set of terms and conditions imposed by the court.
The terms of your probation can be fairly strict. They are more lenient for misdemeanor probation than for formal probation. Formal probation is imposed for a felony cases, which are more severe criminal cases. The terms of probation are also tailored to suit the defendant’s past, as well as the current criminal conviction.1
However, summary probation can still significantly impact the probationer’s life. Even if the judge does not restrict the probationer’s travel, other terms and conditions can make it impossible to leave the state.
Some common terms and conditions of summary probation that can affect the defendant’s ability to leave the state include:
Probationers who have out-of-state travel scheduled may be able to modify the terms of their probation to accommodate their plans. Judges are more likely to approve these accommodations if:
However, it is still entirely within the judge’s discretion to change the terms of probation. If the judge refuses to make the change and the defendant travels out of state, anyway, it will likely be treated as a probation violation.
If a probationer violates a term of their summary probation because they left the state for travel, a probation violation hearing will be scheduled. At the hearing, the prosecutor will urge the judge to revoke probation. The probationer’s criminal defense lawyer will then present evidence that either:
After hearing both sides, the judge will do 1 of 5 things. California law allows a judge to issue a court order to either:
Missing a required appointment for probation in order to travel out of California is not a small violation. Judges may decide to revoke probation completely if it was not the first violation of probation. They may also revoke probation if the judge thinks it was done in bad faith. With the legal advice of a criminal defense attorney from a local law firm, defendants can work to avoid a probation revocation and secure an outcome that they can live with.
Formal probation is different from summary probation in that the terms and conditions are stricter.
Felony probation has very strict and demanding rules. One of those rules is often a very specific prohibition against travelling outside of the county. The only way to travel out of state under formal probation is with the prior approval of the defendant’s probation officer from a California probation department.
Felony probation also has more frequent check-ins. These can prevent the defendant from travelling out of state for any length of time, even with prior approval.
Violations of formal probation often come with higher consequences than violating summary probation. Judges are more likely to revoke felony probation and impose a prison sentence for the remaining time. This is especially common if the defendant has a criminal record or has already violated probation, before.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
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