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Senate Bill 1312 — Fences, barbed wire

Senate Bill 1312 — Fences, barbed wire

by
Parrish Miller
February 20, 2022
Parrish Miller
February 20, 2022

Bill description: Senate Bill 1312 would make it illegal to have a barbed wire fence in disrepair, and it would revise penalties for related offenses. 

Rating: -2

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?

Existing law makes it illegal to have a barbed wire fence "left down or strewn around on the ground," but clarifies that "no person, firm or corporation shall be liable for barbed wires left down or strewn about where the same are not so exposed that there is danger of injury to animals running at large."

Senate Bill 1321 amends sections 35-301 and 35-302, Idaho Code, to add that it is illegal to have a barbed wire fence "in disrepair" and revises the exception to say the prohibition applies "under circumstances or conditions likely to injure livestock."

Senate Bill 1321 amends Section 35-303, Idaho Code, to reduce the time allowed to correct a barbed wire fence that violates the section above from 10 days to 5 days. 

This increase in the scope of the prohibition and decrease in the time allowed to remedy it increases the likelihood that someone will be found to have violated this statute. 

(-1)

Existing law says, "Any person, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be fined in any sum not less than five dollars ($5.00) or more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00), in the discretion of the court."

Senate Bill 1321 amends Section 35-305, Idaho Code, to revise penalties for these offenses. Under the revised language, "Any person, firm, or corporation violating any of the provisions of this chapter for the first time shall be deemed to have committed an infraction and shall be fined in the amount of one hundred fifty dollars ($150)."

This change increases the fine by anywhere from 600% to 3,000%, but it does reduce the violation from a misdemeanor to an infraction in the case of a first offense. 

Concerningly, new language is also added to say, "Any person, firm, or corporation violating the provisions of this chapter for a second or subsequent time within five (5) years of a previous violation shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a minimum fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250) and up to six (6) months in jail."

This represents an increase in the fine of at least 1,000%, and it could be as much as a 5,000% increase. In addition, the threat of incarceration, which was not previously present, is now added to this statute. 

This represents a substantial increase in the potential penalty for an offense that requires no actual harm be caused. 

(-1)

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