Can You Leave the State on Probation?

Updated January 30, 2024
9 min read
Can You Leave the State on Probation?


If you are convicted of a crime, instead of sentencing you to jail or serving the remainder of your jail time, a judge can opt to sentence you to probation. While on probation, it is imperative that you follow all the rules and terms of your probation, or you will risk having your probation revoked and finishing your sentence in jail.

Many probationers have a critical question — can I leave the state if I'm on probation? The answer typically varies depending on the specific terms of the probation and the discretion of the assigned probation officer or the court. 

If You Are on Probation, Can You Leave the State?

While on probation, typically, you are required to stay within the jurisdiction unless granted permission to leave. There exist defined procedures that, under specific circumstances, may allow you to travel outside your sentencing area. However, these are generally contingent on adequately communicating the reasons for your intended departure to the relevant authorities. 

When pondering the question, if you're on probation can you leave the state, it's vital to remember that the answer heavily relies on the unique conditions of your probation and the authorization from the respective officials.

How can you leave the state if you are on probation?

If you are on probation and you would like to leave the state, you must:

  1. Contact your probation officer. This should be the person you turn to for all questions and requests relating to travel out of state. 

  2. Explain to your probation officer the event or reason you need to travel out of state and the circumstances surrounding this request. 

This should not be a simple request: "I’d like to travel out of state.” Instead, this should be a detailed explanation such as:

“To fulfill the terms of my probation, I just got a new job. However, it is a construction job, and the construction company is working on a hospital located across the border in the next state. I am requesting permission to travel out of state on the days that I am working, specifically for work, and to travel to and from the work site.”

The individual probation officer may grant permission to travel as long as all details of the trip are reviewed and constant communication is maintained. This will likely require more communication than is currently outlined in terms of probation, and any failure to check in or relay information to the probation officer as part of the special terms and permissions granted during out-of-state travel would have serious repercussions.

Suppose there is any risk that the person asking for permission to travel will try to flee or commit another crime. In that case, a judge or Court may decide to place the individual in "banned status," preventing them from leaving the state for any reason.

In some cases, you may consider obtaining a letter of recommendation to strengthen your request for out-of-state travel. This letter could be from your employer, community leader, or someone of recognized stature who can vouch for your character, compliance with probation, and the necessity of your travel. Such a letter will help your probation officer understand your commitment to fulfilling your probation terms while carrying out the essential travel. 

When on Probation Can You Leave the State?

There are situations where you can leave the state during your probationary period. However, travel cannot be taken without your probation officer being made aware and approving the travel.

Let’s look at the certain circumstances that exist where it might be permitted:

  • Emergency situations: In unexpected events like a family crisis or a medical emergency.

  • Employment requirements: If your occupation demands travel between states.

  • Attending court proceedings: For legal obligations that necessitate your presence in another state.

  • Family visits: To visit close family members.

  • Relocation: If exceptional circumstances demand relocation, with the permission of the probate court.

Can You Leave State on Probation for a Misdemeanor?

Leaving the state while on probation is generally more feasible in misdemeanor cases than felonies. However, it ultimately depends on several factors, including the case's specifics, the nature of the crime committed, and other related circumstances. 

A guilty plea for a misdemeanor may lead to probation instead of jail time. Consequently, there could be a certain degree of leniency when arranging necessary out-of-state travel, especially when maintaining employment is a condition of the person's probation.

The gravity of the charges against an individual can significantly influence the likeliness of their probation officer granting permission for out-of-state travel. The less severe the charges, the higher the probability of travel approval. Nevertheless, this leniency does not negate the importance of upholding the terms of the probation.

Importantly, any violation of the probation terms during approved out-of-state travel, such as failure to communicate regularly with the probation officer or unapproved changes to travel plans, could lead to serious legal repercussions. Probation could be revoked, potentially resulting in an arrest, and the person might have to face a complete sentence for their initial crime. 

Can I Leave the State on Probation for Felony?

With felony probation, often the convicted individual has already served some jail time in a state prison. This could potentially denote a higher flight risk associated with that person. 

Consequently, if they are granted permission to leave the state unmonitored, there's a likely chance that they may violate probation terms and abscond to avert the completion of their probation sentence or additional jail time. In cases where the individual is perceived as a flight risk, their probation terms may explicitly prohibit them from leaving the state under any conditions.

Nonetheless, for certain severe circumstances, a criminal defense lawyer can still approach the county court and submit a request for leave. A convicted felon who conveys a grave issue and maintains continual contact may receive permission for interstate travel. However, any deviation from documented plans or any failure to maintain constant communication with their probation officer could lead to charges of probation violation. 


Being on probation places certain restrictions on individuals, including limitations on travel outside the state without a legitimate cause and official permission. However, circumstances exist where a person on probation, regardless of whether they were convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor, may leave the state. 

This travel is subject to obtaining prior approval and strictly adhering to any mandates outlined by their probation officer. So, to address the scenario, if on probation can you leave the state, the ultimate decision depends upon the specifics of your case, your probation requirements, and the authorization you receive.

Article by
Yevheniia Savchenko

Yevheniia Savchenko is a Product Content Manager at Lawrina. Yevheniia creates user interface copies for Lawrina products, writes release notes, and helps customers get the best user experience from all Lawrina products. Also, Yevheniia is in charge of creating helpful content on legal template pages (Lawrina Templates) and up-to-date information on US law (Lawrina Guides). In her spare time, Yevheniia takes up swimming, travels, and goes for a walk in her home city.

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