California uses four forms of correctional supervision – probation, jail, prison, and parole. Probation allows convicted felons to serve all or part of their sentence under the supervision of a probation officer rather than in custody. Probation remains the least costly form of supervision. Under some circumstances, individuals may be restricted in their freedom of movement while on probation.
Misdemeanor probation is for offenders convicted of misdemeanor charges. Felony probation is granted to some offenders convicted of felony charges. Felony probation is also known as “formal probation.” Misdemeanor probation is also known as “summary probation.” Almost any person convicted of a misdemeanor offender in California may receive summary probation.
In California, the number of adults on supervised probation is more than twice the size of its prison population, almost four times the size of its jail population, and about six times larger than its parole population. Whereas parole involves a supervised release from prison administered by the state, probation is administered by the county.
Most people convicted of a criminal offense prefer probation to jail or prison time but not all criminal defendants qualify for probation. A judge determines a defendant’s eligibility by considering many factors, including the severity of the crime committed and the defendant’s criminal history.
A person on probation must adhere to his or her “conditions of probation” or suffer the consequences of violating probation. A violation of the conditions of probation gives a California judge the authority to revoke probation and place the offending party in custody.
Under California law, people on felony probation may usually leave their county of residence with the consent of their probation officers. Persons on misdemeanor probation are typically free to leave the county if it does not violate any conditions or terms of their probation.
Although individuals on summary probation may travel freely, they must continue to abide by all the terms of their probation. This may include attending counseling or other classes, as well as performing community service. Anyone who travels and consequently fails to fulfill these obligations violates their probation.
In either situation, whether felony or misdemeanor probation, it is always a wise course of action to seek legal advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney before leaving the county or speaking with a probation officer.
A judge may impose travel restrictions as a component of a defendant’s conditions of probation. If a person then violates these restrictions, he or she is considered in violation of probation. If a defendant fails to comply with the conditions of probation, the judge will issue a bench warrant for the person’s arrest. Then, the judge can do any of the following:
- warn the defendant and reinstate probation under the same terms,
- modify probation, or
- revoke probation and send the defendant to jail/prison.
If you are serving formal probation, The attorneys at the Dolan Law Offices can request that you are allowed to travel. We can also speak to your probation officer about lifting travel restrictions, even temporarily, thus allowing you to travel, which may be especially necessary if you have another employment opportunity in another county or even another state.
John Patrick Dolan is a California State Bar Certified Specialist in Criminal Law, the highest achievement awarded by the State Bar of California to attorneys in the field of criminal law. The advice, guidance, and representation of experienced criminal defense counsel may be crucial to achieving the best possible result in any criminal matter. John Patrick Dolan has forty years of criminal defense experience. Contact Dolan Law Offices today at 760-775-3739 or 562-824-4007 to discuss your situation or find out more online here.