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Can probation be transferred across state lines?

As open as you might be to the prospect of probation, it's important to understand that this alternative to incarceration is certainly not without its substantial challenges. Indeed, you will not only have to report regularly to your probation officer, but also complete treatment programs, satisfy financial obligations, fulfill community service hours, and subject yourself to random alcohol and drug testing.

Despite the existence of these substantial challenges, it's nevertheless important for you to understand that being placed on probation doesn't necessarily prevent you from crossing state boundaries. In fact, this remains a viable option thanks to something known as the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision.

The Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision

At its core, the Interstate Compact is an agreement among the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to cooperate, coordinate and facilitate the transfer of supervised adult offenders across one another's borders. Approved in 2002, it carries the authority of federal law, meaning both state and federal courts are bound by its rules, and that it supplants any otherwise conflicting state laws.    

Practical applications of the Interstate Compact

In general, a probationer here in Florida will approach their probation officer and inform them of their desire to move. Specifically, they must express their desire to transfer supervision to another state and present a plan outlining how exactly this can be accomplished.

If the probation officer decides to consider the matter, they will determine whether 1) the probationer is currently in compliance with all of the terms of their supervision, and 2) their plan satisfies certain criteria set forth in the rules governing the Interstate Compact.

If these conditions are indeed satisfied, the probation officer will have the probationer sign the necessary documentation and submit the formal transfer request via the Interstate Compact Offender Tracking System, where it will go on to be reviewed by the Florida Interstate Compact Office.

If the transfer request is approved here, it will then be forwarded on to the compact office of the state to which the probationer is seeking to relocate for yet another investigation and definitive decision.

We will continue to examine the Interstate Compact in our next post, including its eligibility requirements. In the meantime, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you have any questions or concerns related to probation or other criminal law matters.

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