If you are convicted of a criminal offense in San Diego California you may be sentenced to a term of probation in lieu of, or in addition to, a term of incarceration. Violating the terms of your probation can result in a jail sentence, meaning that it is imperative that you understand and abide by the terms of your probation. One question that probationers frequently have when placed on probation is whether or not you can leave the county if you are on probation.
When you are placed on probation your sentencing judge will determine the terms of your probation. Although there are common probation terms it is also possible that the terms of your probation will vary from the terms of someone else’s probation. Moreover, the terms of your probation will depend on whether you are placed on misdemeanor or felony probation. For obvious reasons, felony probation is typically more restrictive and lasts for a longer period of time -usually 3 to 5 years in California.
Some of the common terms that a probationer must abide by include:
- Report as directed to court or probation officer
- Not commit any new crimes
- Be gainfully employed or attending school
- Not use drugs or alcohol
- Consent to search of your home
- Complete counseling or classes
- Pay restitution
- Stay away from victims
- Complete community service work
While most probationers are not allowed to leave the state without prior approval from either a probation officer or the sentencing judge, you may be allowed to leave the county depending on your circumstances and the terms of your probation. For example, if you live in one county and work or go to school in another county you would likely be allowed to travel for those reasons. It is extremely important, however, that you read and understand each and every term of your individual probation. All too often a defendant who is being sentenced only hears that he or she is being placed on probation in lieu of being sentenced to a term of incarceration with the actual terms of that probation all but being ignored. This can lead the probationer violating a term of probation without even being aware of the violation. The judge in a probation violation hearing, however, will not likely accept ignorance of the terms of probation as an excuse. For this reason it is important that you sit down with your criminal defense attorney after your sentencing and go over all of the terms of your probation to ensure that you understand them. If you need to leave the county for any reason you should ask your attorney specifically if you have permission to do so to avoid confusion or unintentional probation violations in San Diego.