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Broadly speaking, Massachusetts has two types of probation: supervised and administrative.

Those on administrative probation simply need to stay out of trouble and avoid any new criminal law violations for the duration of their probation period. There is typically no need to check in with your probation officer or comply with any other conditions.

Supervised probation, on the other hand, requires more from the probationer. Often he or she must stay in contact with the probation officer assigned to the case. Additionally, the probationer may need to attend counseling, submit to random drug or alcohol screenings, pay restitution, or satisfy any other condition imposed by the court.

When a defendant is given supervised probation, an automatic travel restriction is put in place. The restriction is part of the standardized “Order of Probation Conditions” form completed by the judge.

Clause 19 of the order reads as follows: “Do not leave Massachusetts unless you get the express permission of your probation officer and sign a waiver of rendition.”

The defendant or the defendant’s lawyer should always ask the court to remove the travel restriction before signing an order for supervised probation. In most cases the judge and the prosecution will agree to the request.

By removing this one sentence, probation can get a lot easier for you, especially if you live anywhere near the state’s border.