In Virginia, offenders who are currently serving out their probation may petition the court to have their probation transferred to another state.
They may do so under a nation-wide agreement called the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS).
However, doing so is not a constitutional right.
The authority supervising your probation must approve the transfer, you must meet certain eligibility criteria. Further, the destination state has the right to reject a discretionary transfer at any time.
While the process may look easy on paper, actually transferring your probation can get complicated quite quickly.
While you should certainly talk to both your probation officer and a lawyer before applying, familiarizing yourself with the process is also a great first step.
This article will cover the five steps you’ll need to follow in order to transfer your Virginia probation to another state.
Note that this article only covers the basics of discretionary transfers for individuals who are already out of jail.
Other situations can result in different processes, so you’ll want to make sure you go over your case with an attorney before filing any paperwork.
The 5 Step Process to Transferring Your Virginia Probation
Generally speaking, there are 5 steps you need to follow when transferring your Virginia probation to another state.
Step 1: Determine if You Are Eligible
Virginia has several eligibility requirements for individuals seeking a probation transfer. As stated above, these come from the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS).
ICAOS is an agreement between all 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia regarding supervision transfers.
For this reason, these same basic eligibility guidelines apply no matter what state you are in.
The general guidelines for a probation transfer include requirements such as:
- You must have been under supervision in Virginia for at least three months before transferring, and have three or more months remaining on supervision.
- You must be in “substantial compliance” with the terms of your probation. Here, substantial compliance means that the state is not currently trying to revoke your probation due to a violation.
- You must be a resident in the state you want to move to, or have a resident family member willing and able to assist you. There are exemptions to this requirement for individuals moving for work, military deployment, or a family member’s military deployment.
- You must have a valid plan of supervision in the receiving state, and a “visible means of support.” In other words, you must have a job, SSD/SSI, workers’ compensation payments, or proof of family support.
- Finally, your specific criminal offense must leave you eligible for transfer.
Additional Eligibility Requirements
To expand on the final bullet point above, only individuals convicted of certain crimes are eligible for a transfer.
As a general rule, most crimes that result in a prison or probation sentence of longer than one year qualify for a probation transfer.
To see if your specific crime qualifies, you should check with your probation officer or an attorney.
Alternatively, the ICAOS has several slides available on their website that provide more information on the subject.
As one other note regarding the ICAOS, certain types of probation transfer are “mandatory,” provided that you meet the eligibility conditions listed above.
This means that if the receiving state wants to reject your transfer, they must have a very specific reason for doing so.
Generally speaking, whether or not your transfer is “mandatory” will depend on the specific crime you were convicted of.
These specific crimes are decided at the discretion of the sending state (Virginia in this case).
Step 2: Speak With Your Probation Officer
Your probation officer will be very involved in your case throughout the transfer.
They will assist you in completing the application, requesting signatures, and providing evidence of your supervision history.
For this reason, it is a good idea to speak to your probation officer first if you are thinking about a transfer.
They can inform you of possible issues with a transfer request, and may be able to tell you about the supervision process in the receiving state.
Additionally, a probation officer who supports your move can make the transfer process go much smoother for you.
Due to probation officers often having a high case load, getting on their good side can often speed up the process.
Step 3: File Your Application
Next, you need to file the actual application for your transfer. You can find the forms to do so online.
Along with the correct forms, you will need to support evidence of your means of support in the receiving state.
If you are already a resident of that state, you must provide proof of residency.
Once you’ve filled out your application, you will need to submit it to the ICOTS office in Virginia.
In most cases, your parole officer can do this for you. Unlike most states, Virginia does not require that you pay a fee for your application.
Step 4: Receive Your Decision
After you submit your application, a Virginia judge will review it.
If they reject your application, consider speaking to your lawyer about filing an appeal. In some cases, you may be able to appear before the court to argue your transfer case.
If a Virginia judge accepts your petition, they will forward it to the receiving state. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do if the receiving state rejects you.
This is why it’s very important that you start the process before you’ve taken steps to sever your ties in Virginia, such as ending your lease or sending your belongings to your prospective new home state.
In most cases, your best bet will be filing another application down the line once you can better establish your relationship to that state.
Step 5: Learn Your New Reporting Instructions
Once both courts have accepted you, all you need to do before you move is review your new reporting instructions.
These should list your new probation officer, reporting schedule, and any supervision fees that the recipient state requires.
Note that you must pay these fees in full, even if your last supervision program did not have any fees.
Once you’ve arrived at your destination, make sure you consult with your new probation officer regarding any new conditions to your probation.
Under ICOAS, the new state may impose probation conditions on you as if you had committed the initial offense in that state.
For this reason, you can and should expect changes to curfews, firearm restrictions, and other aspects of your probation.
Finally, keep in mind that you must comply with the probation conditions for both Virginia and the new state.
Make sure you review those requirements in-depth, and speak to your probation officer to clarify any discrepancies.
If you still owe fines, restitutions, or other payments, those must be paid to the relevant Virginia court or probation office, not your new probation officer.
Although the process appears to be relatively straightforward, transferring your probation can still be a daunting and long process.
For this reason, you should strongly consider speaking with a lawyer if you have questions or uncertainties while doing so.
That goes double if you feel that your probation officer will object to your transfer.
By working with an experienced attorney, you can reduce your chances of having your transfer petition rejected, or encountering difficulties during your transfer.