Policy of Idaho's Juvenile Courts.

It is the policy of the state of Idaho that the juvenile correction system will be based on the following principles: accountability; community protection; and competency development. Where a juvenile has been found to be within the purview of the juvenile corrections act, the court must impose a sentence that will protect the community, hold the juvenile accountable for his actions, and assist the juvenile in developing skills to become a contributing member of a diverse community. Idaho's policy contemplates that parents or other legal guardians of the juvenile offender will participate in the accomplishment of these goals through participation in counseling and treatment designed to develop positive parenting skills and an understanding of the family's role in the juvenile's behavior. The legislature intends for parents or legal guardians of the juvenile offender to be held accountable, where appropriate, through monetary reimbursement for supervision and confinement of the juvenile offender, and restitution to victims of the juvenile's delinquent acts. In enacting this legislation, the legislature found that the juvenile corrections system should provide: day treatment, community programs, observation and assessment programs, probation services, secure facilities, after-care, and assistance to counties for juveniles not committed to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Corrections.

Who may be prosecuted in juvenile court?

The juvenile court has jurisdiction over any juvenile and over any adult who was a juvenile at the time of any act or omission, in the county in which the juvenile resides, or in the county in which the act, omission or status allegedly took place, in the following cases:

  1. Where the act, omission or status occurs in the state of Idaho and is prohibited by federal, state, local or municipal law or ordinance by reason of minority only;
  2. Where the act or omission occurs in the state of Idaho and is a violation of any federal, state, local or municipal law or ordinance which would be a crime if committed by an adult;
  3. Concerning any juvenile where the juvenile comes under the purview of the interstate compact on juveniles as set forth in chapter 19, title 16, Idaho Code.
A "juvenile" is a person under eighteen (18) years of age or who was under eighteen (18) years at the time of any act or omission bringing the person within the purview of the law.

What is a "status offense"?

A status offense is an act or omission that is prohibited by the federal, state, local or municipal law or ordinance, for minors only. For example, being charged with a curfew violation.

How long can the juvenile be subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court?

Jurisdiction obtained by the court in the case of a juvenile is retained by the court until the juvenile becomes twenty-one (21) years of age, unless terminated prior thereto. If a juvenile under the jurisdiction of the court and after attaining eighteen (18) years of age, is charged with a felony, he will be treated as any other adult offender. If a person eighteen (18) years of age or older already under court jurisdiction is convicted of a felony, that conviction shall terminate the jurisdiction of the court.

Who cannot be prosecuted in Juvenile court?

The juvenile court system court is not available to juvenile violators of beer, wine or other alcohol and tobacco laws; except that a juvenile violator under the age of eighteen (18) years at the time of the violation may, at the discretion of the court, be prosecuted in juvenile court.

The juvenile court system is not available to a violent juvenile offender, as defined in Idaho Code § 20-509. (Some examples include: murder, robbery, and rape except for statutory rape and other types of sex offenses).

The juvenile court system does not apply to juvenile violators of traffic, watercraft, or fish and game laws, or to any failure to obey a misdemeanor citation and criminal contempt laws. However, a juvenile violator under the age of eighteen (18) years at the time of such violation may, at the discretion of the court, be prosecuted in juvenile court.

The Court is not available to juvenile sex offenders who violate the provisions of Idaho Code § 18-8414. (The prohibited employment provision for sex offenders).

What is the process once charges are filed?

Diversion or informal disposition of the charges.

If court action is not required, the prosecuting attorney may utilize the diversion process and refer the case directly to the county probation officer or a community-based diversion program for informal probation and counseling.

If a petition is filed and, at the admission or denial hearing, the juvenile admits to the allegations contained in the petition, the court may decide to make an informal adjustment of the petition. Informal adjustment includes, but is not limited to:

  • Reprimand of the juvenile;
  • Informal supervision with the probation department;
  • Community service work;
  • Restitution to the victim;
  • Participation in a community-based diversion program.

Formal adjudication of the charges.

The court will require the juvenile to personally appear in court and formally answer to the charges that have been filed against him or her. The juvenile will be required to either admit or deny the charges. If the juvenile denies the charges, the court will hold an evidentiary hearing to determine the guilt of the juvenile. A juvenile does not have the right to a jury trial and the trial will be held in front of the judge.

If the juvenile pleads guilty or is found guilty by the court what can happen to them?

The court may place the juvenile on formal probation for a period not to exceed three (3) years from the date of the order, except the court may place a juvenile on formal probation for a period not to exceed the juvenile’s twenty-first birthday if the court finds that the juvenile has committed a crime of a sexual nature;

Status offenses.  For status offenses, the court may sentence the juvenile to detention in a juvenile facility for a period not to exceed thirty (30) days for each act, omission, or status offense that is prohibited by the federal, state, local or municipal law or ordinance by reason of minority only.

Misdemeanors.  The court may commit the juvenile to a period of detention, for a period of time not to exceed ninety (90) days for each unlawful or criminal act the juvenile is found to have committed.  Or where the juvenile has been convicted of a multiple status offenses.

Felonies.  If the juvenile has committed an unlawful or criminal act, which would be a felony if committed by an adult, the court may commit the juvenile to detention for a period not to exceed one hundred eighty (180) days for each unlawful or criminal act.

Driving privileges.  The court may suspend or restrict a juvenile’s driving privileges for such periods of time as the court deems necessary, and the court may take possession of the juvenile’s driver’s license.  The juvenile may request restricted driving privileges during a period of suspension, which the court may allow if the juvenile shows by a preponderance of evidence that driving privileges are necessary for his employment or for family health needs.

Commitment to juvenile corrections.  The court may commit the juvenile to the legal custody of the Department of Juvenile Corrections for an indeterminate period of time not to exceed the juvenile’s nineteenth birthday, unless the custody review board determines that extended time in custody is necessary to address competency development, accountability, and community protection; provided however, that no juvenile shall remain in the custody of the department beyond the juvenile’s twenty-first birthday.  A court may not commit a juvenile offender under the age of ten (10) years to a period of detention or to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Corrections for placement in secure confinement.

Restitution.  Unless the court determines that an order of restitution would be inappropriate or undesirable, it shall order the juvenile or his parents or both to pay restitution to or make whole any victim who suffers an economic loss as a result of the juvenile’s conduct.  Additionally, the court may order the juvenile’s parents, legal guardian or custodian to pay the charges imposed by community programs ordered by the court for the juvenile, or the juvenile’s parents, legal guardian or custodian.

Does the court have jurisdiction over the parents of a juvenile offender?

The court has jurisdiction and authority to have the juvenile and the juvenile's parent(s), legal guardian, or custodian sign a probationary contract with the court containing terms and conditions that the juvenile and the juvenile's parent(s), legal guardian or custodian must adhere to as a condition of the juvenile's probation.

The probationary contract may provide that upon a violation or breach of the terms and conditions of the probationary contract, the juvenile's parent(s), legal guardian or custodian shall be liable to the court for a specific monetary sum not in excess of one thousand dollars ($1,000) for the breach of contract. Additionally, any person violating any order of the court is subject to contempt proceedings where the person can be assessed a $5,000 dollar fine and or five (5) days in jail.

After sentencing can the court expunge the juvenile's record?

Felonies or commitment to juvenile corrections.  Any person who has been adjudicated in juvenile court for having committed a felony offense or having been committed to the department of juvenile corrections may, after the expiration of five (5) years from the date of termination of the continuing jurisdiction of the court, or, in case the juvenile was committed to the juvenile corrections center, five (5) years from the date of his release from the juvenile corrections center, or after reaching age eighteen (18), whichever occurs last, petition the court for the expungement of his record.

For misdemeanors or status offenses.  Any person who has been adjudicated in a case under the juvenile corrections act and found to be within the purview of the act for having committed misdemeanor or status offenses only (and not having been committed to the Department of Juvenile Corrections) may, after the expiration of one (1) year from the date of termination of the continuing jurisdiction of the court or after reaching age eighteen (18) years, whichever occurs later, petition the court for the expungement of his record.

For diversion cases or informal adjustments.  In any case where the prosecuting attorney has elected to utilize the diversion process or the court orders an informal adjustment the person may, after the expiration of one (1) year from the date of termination of the continuing jurisdiction of the court or after reaching age eighteen (18) years, whichever occurs later, petition the court for the expungement of his record.

Exclusions.  The court may not expunge a conviction for any of the following crimes from a juvenile’s record:


  1. Administering poison with intent to kill (18-4014, Idaho Code);
  2. Aggravated battery (18-907, Idaho Code);
  3. Armed robbery (chapter 65, title 18, Idaho Code);
  4. Arson (chapter 8, title 18, Idaho Code);
  5. Assault with intent to commit a serious felony (18-909, Idaho Code);
  6. Assault with intent to murder (18-4015, Idaho Code);
  7. Assault or battery upon certain personnel, felony (18-915, Idaho Code);
  8. Forcible sexual penetration by use of a foreign object (18-6608, Idaho Code);
  9. Infamous crime against nature, committed by force or violence (18-6605, Idaho Code);
  10. Injury to child, felony (18-1501, Idaho Code);
  11. Kidnapping (18-4501, Idaho Code);
  12. Murder of any degree (18-4001 and 18-4003, Idaho Code);
  13. Rape, excluding statutory rape (18-6101 and 18-6108, Idaho Code);
  14. Ritualized abuse of a child (18-1506A, Idaho Code);
  15. Sexual exploitation of a child (18-1507, Idaho Code);
  16. Unlawful use of destructive device or bomb (18-3320, Idaho Code);
  17. Voluntary manslaughter (18-4006 1., Idaho Code);
  18. A violation of the provisions of section 37-2732(a)(1)(A), (B) or (C), Idaho Code, when the violation occurred on or within one thousand (1,000) feet of the property of any public or private primary or secondary school, or in those portions of any building, park, stadium or other structure or grounds which were, at the time of the violation, being used for an activity sponsored by or through such a school;
  19. A violation of the provisions of section 37-2732B, Idaho Code, related to drug trafficking or manufacturing of illegal drugs.


If the court finds, after hearing that the petitioner has not been adjudicated as a juvenile for any of the crimes identified above and has not been convicted of a felony, or of a misdemeanor wherein violence toward another person was attempted or committed since the termination of the court’s jurisdiction or his release from the juvenile corrections center, and that no proceeding involving such felony or misdemeanor is pending or being instituted against him, and if the court further finds to its satisfaction that the petitioner has been held accountable, is developing life skills necessary to become a contributing member of the community and that the expungement of the petitioner’s record will not compromise public safety, it shall order all records in the petitioner’s case in the custody of the court and all such records, including law enforcement investigatory reports and fingerprint records, in the custody of any other agency or official sealed; and shall further order all references to said adjudication, diversion or informal adjustment removed from all indices and from all other records available to the public.

What happens to expunged records?

They are removed from all indices and from all other records available to the public. Upon entry of the expungement order the proceedings in the petitioner's case are deemed never to have occurred and the petitioner may properly reply accordingly upon any inquiry in the matter. Inspection of the records may thereafter be permitted only by the court upon petition by the person who is the subject of the records or by any other court of competent jurisdiction, and only to persons named in the petition. A special index of the expungement proceedings and records is kept by the court ordering expungement. This index is not available to the public and is revealed only upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction. Copies of the order are sent to each agency or official named in the order.