DUI in Hawaii

If you are arrested for DUI in Hawaii, its laws (also called OVUII laws, as in Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant) mandate that you face prosecution in District Court as well as a possible license suspension from the Administrative Driver's License Revocation Office (ADLRO). The ADRLO will seek to take immediate action against your driver's license.

Possible drunk driving offenses in Hawaii include the following:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater
  • If under 21, driving with ANY calculable amount of alcohol

The DUI laws in Hawaii cover operating a motor verhicle on the water, in the air, as well as driving on the road.

Reciprocity With Other States

Even if you are in Hawaii on vacation or for temporary military assignment and hold a license from another state, a DUI in Hawaii will be reported to your home state and result in suspension or revocation there.

Hawaii DUI Penalties

Court Fines Potential Jail Time License Suspension
1st Conviction $150-1,000 2 days - 5 days* 90 days - 1 year
2nd Conviction $500-1,500 5 days - 14 days* 1 year - 2 years
3rd Conviction $500-2500 10 days - 30 days 1 year - 5 years
4th Conviction Court determined
Up to 5 years Minimum of 1 year

*Jail time may be commuted to community service

Two Prosecution Theories

Hawaii will prosecute you under one of two theories: either that you are impaired for purposes of driving, OR that you are driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 per cent or higher.

To convict you based on impairment, the arresting officer's testimony regarding your driving patterns, physical appearance, field sobriety test results, and chemical test results are considered.

Hawaii DUI law prosecutions can also be based on "per se" law, if your blood alcohol content is 0.08 per cent or higher, without regard to whether your performance is actually impaired.

Chemical Testing and Implied Consent Laws

Under Hawaii state law, any licensed person operating a motor vehicle automatically gives his or her consent to an approved test (blood, breath, or urine) for the purposes of showing intoxication. Any driver refusing to take a chemical test is subject to license revocation for one to five years.

Blood tests must be administered by a doctor, nurse, or other licensed personnel according to section 321-13. A driver accused of a DUI offense also has the right to request a second, independent, chemical test at his or her own expense.

Look-Back Period

Hawaii DUI law includes a five-year "look-back" period. In other words, if there's a prior conviction for DUI that is more than five years before the present offense, the present offense will be treated like a first-offense DUI. Prior convictions within that five-year look-back period will count.

Court Repercussions

If you are a first time offender, you face a fourteen-hour minimum substance rehabilitation program, which includes education and counseling, or another comparable program at the court's discretion, a 90 day immediate and complete suspension of license and driving privileges, or a minimum 30-day prompt suspension of license with absolute prohibition from operating a vehicle and, for the remainder of the ninety-day period, a restriction on the license that allows the person to drive for limited work-related purposes substance abuse programs. You will also be sentenced to 72 hours of community service and/or 48 hours to five days' imprisonment, and/or a fine of between $150 and $1,000.

These DUI sentences do not include legal enhancements, such as second or third offenses, which necessitate much longer jail sentences and more severe punishments. Acts that warrant these enhancements include children in the car when you're arrested, a BAC of 0.20 per cent or higher, a DUI when driving recklessly, among others.

Elevation to a Felony Charge

A fourth DUI offense in Hawaii is considered a felony. Fines and penalties vary according to the specific circumstances of each case. It is best to consult with an attorney who will be able to advise you on your situation. An attorney oftentimes may be able to reduce fines and jail time.

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