House Bill 26 — Removing Habitual Status Offender Definition

House Bill 26 — Removing Habitual Status Offender Definition

by
Parrish Miller
January 26, 2021

Bill Description: House Bill 26 removes from Idaho Code language classifying certain juveniles as "habitual status offenders."

Rating: +1

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for nonviolent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes?

House Bill 26 amends several parts of Idaho Code, including the following two sections. 

Section 20-516, Idaho Code, defines a "status offense" by a minor as "truancy, running away from or being beyond the control of parents, guardian, or legal custodian, alcohol age violations under section 18-1502 (e), Idaho Code, and curfew violations." It should be noted that these are all victimless actions that are legal when undertaken by an adult.

Section 20-521, Idaho Code, meanwhile, says that someone who is charged with committing three such offenses in a 12-month period may be adjudicated as a habitual status offender, which can bring enhanced penalties. But it also says that committing a status offense is not a sufficient reason for government to place an individual in a juvenile detention center.

House Bill 26 repeals Section 20-521, with its reference to juvenile habitual status offenders, and it also repeals all other references to it in the Idaho Code, effectively removing all enhanced penalties for that type of offender.

Second, it adds to Section 20-516, which will now say that merely committing a status offense is not enough for government to place an individual in a juvenile detention center.

House Bill 26 does, though, still allow for someone to be placed in a juvenile shelter care facility, so it does not eliminate the possibility that someone can be involuntarily detained.

(+1)

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