If you've been placed on probation for a criminal offense, you have two options for relocating to another state. The first is to apply to have your probation transferred to a new state using a process known as an Interstate Compact Transfer. The second option is to have your probation discharged early so you are no longer restricted from traveling.
Consider Your Options
Interstate Compact Transfers are used to transfer the probation of felony offenders to the supervision of another state. Serious misdemeanor offenders such as those convicted of physical violence, possession of a firearm, a sex offense that requires registration, or a second or subsequent offense of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, might also be eligible for an ICT. To qualify, there must be more than 90 days of your probation remaining.
Lower forms of misdemeanor probation are not considered serious enough to justify an Interstate Compact Transfer. You'll either have to have your probation discharged by the court, or simply wait out your probation before moving to another state.
Apply for an ICT
To apply for an ICT, ask your probation officer or criminal defense attorney for the application form and submit it to the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the state where you are serving your probation. Some states charge a fee to process an ICT application, for example, Tennessee charges a fee of $150 payable to the Tennessee Department of Correction. The court will consider your application and then send a transfer request to the state to which you want to relocate. You cannot leave the state while your application is in process.
Await the Receiving State's Decision
The receiving state has 45 days to accept or deny the Interstate Compact Transfer request. Generally, if you were a resident of the receiving state for at least one year before the offense, then the receiving state will accept the transfer. This might happen if, for example, you committed the offense during vacation or while away at college in the sentencing state. Other transfers are decided on a case-by-case basis. As a minimum, you'll have to show that:
- You have a family member in the receiving state who has lived there for at least 180 days and is willing to supervise you, and
- You have a job or another means of support in the receiving state, and
- You're in compliance with the rules of your probation at the time of the application for transfer.
If the ICT is granted, you'll be given a travel pass to get to the other state, where you'll report to your new probation officer in the receiving jurisdiction.
Apply for an Early Discharge
If you don't qualify for an ICT, it's worth asking your probation officer whether your probation could be terminated early. Each jurisdiction has its own rules but generally, you must have completed at least half your probation period, paid all fines and restitution, and completed all treatment requirements such as anger management or drug counseling. In some states, you may have to attend a hearing and explain to the judge why the probation should be terminated. In other states, the recommendation of your probation officer might be enough to satisfy the court that your probation should be discharged. Your probation officer can guide you through the process.