Can I Travel Out of State If I’m Charged With a Crime?

Every year, thousands of Americans navigate the legal system while trying to maintain their daily lives. A common stumbling block? Understanding travel limitations when charged with a crime. If you’re charged with a crime in Colorado, can you leave the state? What if you were just visiting: can you return home?

The answer to this question is not straightforward and depends on several factors, including the nature of the charges, the conditions of bail or release, and the jurisdiction involved. In this blog post, we’ll explore these considerations to provide a clearer understanding of what’s possible and what’s not.

Bail Conditions and Travel Restrictions

Bail conditions are set by a judge and can vary significantly from one case to another. In some instances, the court may impose specific travel restrictions as part of your bail conditions. These restrictions could range from prohibiting international travel to limiting your movement to within the state or even a specific county.

If your bail conditions explicitly forbid you from leaving the state, then doing so would violate these conditions, potentially leading to arrest, the revocation of bail, and additional charges. It’s crucial to comply strictly to the terms set by the court.

How to know if you have a travel restriction

It’s important to recognize that when you’re charged with a crime, the court has the power to impose conditions of release. These conditions can include monitored sobriety, restrictions on who you can talk to, and travel restrictions.

Where to look for your release conditions

If you were arrested and then released from jail, you were probably given paperwork detailing the conditions of your release. You may have been released “on summons” or on bond. In that case, the conditions of pre-trial release would be on the release or bond paperwork. Often, there is a paper entitled “Appearance Bond” that outlines the requirements of bond and possible penalties if you do not return to court.

Another place to look is the Mandatory Protection Order, if you were given one. In Colorado, many crimes require an MPO to be set. While it is unusual for the MPO to specifically restrict your travel, it is possible.

It’s common to be so happy to be released from custody that you forget to keep the paperwork they gave you on release. As criminal defense attorneys, the first thing we often answer for clients is the question of “Can I travel on bond” or with my pending case. We do that by accessing the court file and viewing the paperwork as well as the written record (or minutes) of what a judge may have ordered to you follow.

What Cases Have Travel Restrictions?

People charged with serious cases like felonies and violent misdemeanors are most often told that they cannot leave the state. It’s also possible that your previous criminal history would make it more likely to have a travel restriction imposed.

For a Colorado felony, a condition of bond is to sign a waiver of extradition. This waiver means that, if you are arrested in another state, you will not fight Colorado’s attempt to bring you back for prosecution. If you have not signed a waiver, then you may have a bond condition prohibiting you from leaving the state.

Municipal charges and minor traffic infractions usually don’t have any restrictions on travel. As long as you return for court dates, you can travel freely.

Seeking Permission to Travel

If your bail conditions restrict travel, but you have a compelling reason to leave the state, you may request permission from the court to travel out of the state. This permission could be a one-time thing, or it could be permission to travel at any time. Common reasons that courts decide travel is allowed include:

  • You don’t live in Colorado;
  • Your work requires you to travel outside of Colorado;
  • You have a pre-planned trip

The request process typically involves:

  • Filing a Motion: Your attorney can file a motion with the court asking for a temporary lift of the travel restrictions or for a modification of your bail conditions.
  • Providing a Justification: You’ll need to provide a strong reason for your travel, along with any supporting documentation (e.g., a letter from your employer or a medical appointment confirmation).
  • Awaiting the Court’s Decision: The judge will consider your request, which may involve a hearing where both the prosecution and defense can present arguments.

Depending on your case, there may also be additional requirements or delays. For example, if you are charged with a crime that is covered under the Victim Rights Act, the prosecutor and judge must comply with that law before modifying your bond to allow travel. That means that the judge can’t approve your travel the day you request it. It will take time for the prosecutor to get into “VRA compliance,” and sometimes that can take weeks.


In conclusion, while it is possible to travel out of state when charged with a crime, it is heavily dependent on the specifics of your case and the conditions of your bail or release. Always consult with your attorney before making any travel plans to ensure that you remain in compliance with the law. Remember, violating the terms of your bail or release can have serious consequences, further complicating your legal situation.

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