Bill description: Senate Bill 1161 would increase the amounts of heroin necessary for someone to be subjected to a mandatory minimum sentence for trafficking, and it also would create a new mandatory minimum for fentanyl trafficking.

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

Idaho law currently has fixed minimum sentences for anyone convicted of trafficking in several specific controlled substances. (Whether a person is trafficking in a drug, rather than just possessing it, is determined under law by the weight of the drug in the person’s possession.)

Because trafficking sentences are determined simplistically by weight and do not consider other indicators of trafficking, distribution, or manufacture, these sentences can easily be imposed on individuals who were not actually engaged in trafficking. This is unjust, for mere possession of a controlled substance is a victimless crime.

Senate Bill 1161 would increase the thresholds for and reduce the length of the mandatory fixed-minimum sentences that come with a conviction of trafficking in heroin.

Currently, the law has three tiers for trafficking in heroin: amounts from 2 grams to seven grams, 7 grams to 28 grams, and 28 grams or more. With such low amounts, these tiers can inadvertently catch individuals who have heroin solely for personal use. SB 1161 would increase these thresholds; the first tier would be 5 grams to 10 grams, the second tier would be 10 grams to 28 grams, and the third would remain the same at 28 grams or greater.

This would reduce the number of individuals who are inadvertently caught in a mandatory minimum sentence solely for possessing heroin for their personal use, not for trafficking in the substance.

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Additionally, SB 1161 would reduce the mandatory fixed sentences for individuals charged with trafficking in heroin. The first tier would remain the same, while the second tier would be reduced from 10 years in prison to 5, and the third tier reduced from 15 to 10.

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SB 1161 would also establish mandatory minimums for individuals with fentanyl and related substances. The legislation would establish three separate tiers for individuals charged with trafficking in these substances, just as with other minimums. These tiers would be from two to ten grams, ten to 28 grams, and 28 grams and up. Establishing these tiers would punish people for trafficking in fentanyl, regardless of whether there is compelling evidence an individual was simply using the substance for their personal use.

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The minimum prison sentence would be three years for the first tier, five years for the second, and 10 years for the third.

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Additionally, SB 1161 would establish separate fines for individuals charged under the mandatory minimum statutes. For those convicted in the first tier, the fine would be $10,000. It would be $15,000 for those convicted in the second and $25,000 for those convicted in the third tier.

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