What is Interstate Compact and How Can It Impact Your Probation?
If you are placed on felony formal probation and supervised by a probation officer you might expect that moving to another state to comes with some challenges. Many probationers are surprised and unhappy to learn that even informal probation can prohibit them from moving to a different state before their probation expires. If you are on probation and you wish to move to another state during the period of your probation, you may have to apply for transfer through Interstate Compact.
The Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision exists for the purpose of evaluating and processing the transfer of adult probationers from one state to another while maintaining continuous supervision.
Successful transfer requires both states to agree to the transfer. In other words, you first have to get the sending state (California) to agree to transfer you out of the state. Second, the receiving state (where you are hoping to move) must accept the transfer and agree to supervise you.
The goal of Interstate Compact is to ensure public safety by maintaining supervision of probationers. Unfortunately, the process of applying to and obtaining approval from Interstate Compact can cause confusion, frustration, and exasperation for probationers and their families who are impacted by this process.
This article is designed to prepare you for the process and help clear up some of the confusion.
When Do You have to Apply for Interstate Compact?
- If you are on felony probation
- If you are on misdemeanor probation AND:
- The probation term is for one year or more of supervision (formal or informal)
- The instant offense includes** one or more of the following:
- An offense in which a person has incurred direct or threatened physical or psychological harm;
- The offense involves the use or possession of a firearm;
- A second or subsequent conviction for driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol offense; or
- A sexual offense that requires that an offender register as a sex offender in the sending state.
**Note: For purposes of Interstate Compact the actual charge you plead to is not relevant to the question when determining the conduct the offense included. It is the underlying facts that lead to the charges- not just the final charge you are on probation for- that controls. For example, if you get into a fight and are charged with battery (hitting someone) but you instead take a plea bargain and are convicted of disturbing the peace (no allegations of violence) you will still have to apply for transfer through Interstate Compact. The probation officer reviews the whole police report to determine what the offense included.
How Do You Apply?
You must apply before you leave the state. If you are outside of California and try to apply for Interstate Compact your application will, without question and without exception, be denied. You must remain in the state within which you were placed on probation when applying for Interstate Compact.
You must fill out an application for the transfer. Then, it is up to your probation officer and the “sending state” (the state that put you on probation) to decide if your case qualifies for transfer. In many instances, both states have a great deal of discretion in regards to this decision. In other words, California’s decision to send an applicant is always discretionary and it is only when very strict requirements are met that a receiving state must accept you.
When MUST the receiving state accept you?
A receiving state MUST accept an applicant only when all of the following are met:
- The applicant has three months (90 days) or more remaining on supervision; AND
- The applicant is in substantial compliance in the sending state; AND
- The applicant has at least one of the following qualifying reason for transferring to the other state:
- The applicant is a resident of the receiving state
- The applicant has resident family in the receiving state willing and able to assist applicant
- The applicant is active military member who has been deployed to the receiving state
- The applicant will live with active military family member who has been deployed to the receiving state
- The applicant will live with a family member who has been transferred to the receiving state by their full-time employer as a condition of maintaining employment
- The applicant is transferred to the receiving state by their full-time employer as a condition of maintaining employment; AND
- The applicant has a valid plan of supervision in the receiving state with a visible means of support (employment, family support, SSD/SSI, workman’s compensation, etc.); AND
- The transferring offense was a conviction for a felony, eligible misdemeanor, or eligible deferred sentence; AND
- The applicant is required to report or be monitored by supervising authorities OR has any condition (other than a fine) imposed.
All other applications are discretionary, meaning the receiving state has full discretion to accept or deny your application.
What does substantial compliance mean?
Substantial compliance means that an applicant is sufficiently in compliance with the terms and conditions of their supervision so as not to result in the initiation of revocation of supervision proceedings by the sending state.
Who qualifies as a resident?
A resident means a person who:
- Has continuously inhabited a state for at least one year prior to the commission of the offense for which the offender is under supervision; AND
- That such state shall be the person’s principal place of residence; AND
- Has not, unless incarcerated, relocated to another state or states for a continuous period of six months or more with the intent to establish a new principal place of residence.
Who qualifies as resident family?
Resident Family means a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, adult child, adult sibling, spouse, legal guardian, or step-parent who:
- Has resided in the receiving state for 6 months (180 days) or longer as of the date of the transfer request; AND
- Indicates a willingness and an ability to assist the offender as specified in the plan of supervision.
Will Interstate Compact Impact Your Plans to Move Out Of State?
In order to determine if you need to apply for Interstate Compact you may wish to contact an attorney who practices in the county in which you are on probation. While Interstate Compact is required in all felony cases, each misdemeanor case needs to be evaluated. Sometimes courts do not refer the case to Interstate Compact and other times probation does not require it. However, it is wise to know what your obligations are in advance as failure to apply can result in a warrant for your arrest!
Change is hard enough as it is. Do not add stress to your move by failing to apply for Interstate Compact. If you are not sure if you have to apply, ask!