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How can my probation officer find out if I leave the country for a week by plane??

Fort Worth, TX |

I am on probation for a dwi in Texas. I saw my probation officer for the first time on tuesday. My grandfather had a heart attack and a pace maker put in a month ago and is still in frail condition in Mexico. My probation officer will not allow me to go. She is very rude and seems to be on a power trip. I have my plane ticket and my days off from work ready for me to leave on Saturday (tomorrow). If I don't go I risk not only loosing $525 plane ticket, but possibly also the last chance to see my grandfather alive. I've made up my mind and I will go. I will post again when I get back from my trip (and maybe out of jail) and let you all know if the probation officer really does look up these kind of things. I would appreciate input from anyone. Thanks!

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Your probation officer cannot give you permission to travel out of the country. In fact, the officer cannot give you permission to travel out of the state under the compact agreement. It is not about a power tirp, but about what they can and cannot do.

    What you should have done immediately when you learned of the situation was to hire a lawyer to talk to the judge. (I recently got a court order allowing a client on felony bond to travel to his native country of China. BUT, we went through the right channels.)

    If you admit to your probation officer that you traveled out of the country, you are likely to get a motion to revoke your probation. If you get into ANY difficulty while out of this country, then it is likely your probation officer will find out.

    It is a shame about your grandfather. But, unfortunately, you alone are responsible for putting yourself in this position.

    Although I have answered the question to try to help you, you should consult with a lawyer in your area in person on the matter. In addition, my answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us.

  2. You could have requested to speak her supervisor about the purpose of your travel. I was a probation officer in Dallas and granted reasonable and necessary travel requests and issued travel permits. Traveling without permission is a violation of your terms as you seem to know since you mention jail. Good luck. M. Irene Wilson

    My answer is for informational purposes and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Call me to hire me as your attorney.

  3. Although I've read dozens of Ms. Henley's answers on AVVO, and have nearly always agreed with her 100%, I have to take issue somewhat with her answer to this question. Though perhaps technically correct, it misses an potentially easy solution to your problem.

    The judge sets the terms and conditions of your probation, and the judge may make exceptions at any time for good cause shown. If you simply go back to court and ask the judge, I would imagine that he or she would make an exception for you under the circumstances. You may wish to hire a lawyer to assist you, or you may choose to approach the judge on your own.

    The probation officer can file a motion to revoke your probation at any time, but only the judge can actually revoke you, or take other disciplinary action.

    I would have little respect for a judge who refused to allow a misdemeanor DWI defendant to take a week or so to visit an elderly (and potentially dying) close relative. If you were on probation for dealing drugs, and if those drugs were believed to have been obtained in Mexico, that might be another matter...but a simple DWI? Come on...

    Having said that, I am sure that there are some judges who would deny such a request and revoke you in a heartbeat if you took the trip without their permission. Such is the legal business... What is legal isn't always what's right.

    Best wishes. I hope everything works out well for you.