Hawaii's DUI Laws and the Penalties for a Conviction

Learn about the penalties for a first, second, and third DUI/OVUII conviction in Hawaii.

In Hawaii, the penalties you'll face for a DUI conviction depend mostly on how many prior convictions you have. However, for most offenses, you'll face fines, license suspension, and at least the possibility of some time in jail.

This article explains Hawaii's DUI law and the consequences for a first, second, and third conviction.

Hawaii's DUI Law

Hawaii criminalizes driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle under the influence (DUI) of drugs and alcohol. The offense is sometimes called an "OVUII" (operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant). A DUI charge can be based on actual impairment or the driver's blood alcohol concentration.

What Is Hawaii's BAC Limit for a DUI?

In Hawaii, you can generally be convicted of a DUI for driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater. This limit is lowered to 04% or more if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle. Drivers who are under the age of 21 aren't allowed to operate a vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their system.

Hawaii DUI Charges Based on Actual Impairment

For purposes of Hawaii's DUI laws, a driver is considered to be under the influence if his or her:

  • ability to operate a vehicle in a careful and prudent manner is impaired by drugs or other intoxicants, or
  • mental faculties are diminished to some material degree because of consuming alcohol.

To prove impairment, prosecutors often rely on the testimony of the arresting officer.

Hawaii's DUI Conviction Penalties

A person convicted of a DUI will be sentenced pursuant to statutory guidelines. These guidelines are based on the number of prior violations the offender has that occurred within the last ten years.

You can jump ahead to find out about the penalties for a:

These sections outline the specific penalties that apply to each type of DUI conviction.

First-Offense DUI Penalties in Hawaii

An offender with no prior DUI convictions in the last ten years will face one or more of the following:

  • 72 hours of community service
  • 48 hours to five days in jail, and
  • $250 to $1,000 in fines.

First offenders will also need to complete a 14-hour rehabilitation program.

A first DUI involving a passenger under the age of 15 carries an additional $500 fine and an additional 48 hours in jail.

Second-Offense DUI Penalties in Hawaii

An offender with one prior DUI in the last ten years will face:

  • a two-to-three-year license revocation
  • $1,000 to $3,000 in fines, and
  • either five to 30 days in jail or up to 240 hours of community service.

A second DUI involving a passenger under the age of 15 carries an additional $500 fine and an additional 48 hours in jail.

Third-Offense DUI (Felony) Penalties in Hawaii

A DUI conviction is considered a habitual violation if the offender has at least two prior DUIs in the last ten years or has at least one habitual violation in the last ten years.

A habitual DUI violation is a class C felony. The offender will face:

  • five years in prison or five years of probation (which includes a three-to-five-year license revocation)
  • $2,000 to $5,000 in fines
  • at least ten days in jail, and
  • having to complete substance abuse counseling and a driver's education program.

A habitual violator may also have to participate in continuous alcohol monitoring.

The vehicle operated during the felony DUI will be subject to vehicle forfeiture.

License-Related Penalties for a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd DUI in Hawaii

A driver can be suspended or revoked for driving with a prohibited BAC, for being convicted of DUI, and for refusing to submit to chemical testing. Generally, when multiple revocations are imposed for a single incident, the revocation periods run together rather than back-to-back.

Administrative License Suspension Imposed by Hawaii DMV

If a test result shows a BAC above the legal limit, the driver's license will be revoked. The duration depends on the number of prior BAC suspensions in the last five years.

  • First offense. One-year revocation.
  • Second offense. 18-month revocation.
  • Third offense. Two-year revocation.
  • Fourth or subsequent offense. Five to ten-year revocation.

These administrative license suspensions don't require a DUI conviction in criminal court.

License Suspension for Implied Consent Violations in Hawaii

All drivers arrested for DUI are deemed to have given consent to a breath, blood, or urine test for the presence of drugs or alcohol. If the driver refuses, the officer is supposed to seize the driver's license and issue a temporary permit. The revocation period is

  • First offense. Two-year revocation.
  • Second offense. Three-year revocation.
  • Third offense. Four-year revocation.
  • Fourth or subsequent offense. Ten-year revocation.

You'll note that the refusal revocations are substantially longer than those for a failed chemical test.

License Revocation for DUI Conviction in Hawaii

As mentioned above, a DUI conviction will also result in license revocation. A first-offense DUI carries a one-year license revocation. A second offense carries a two-to-three-year license revocation. A habitual violator DUI carries three to five years of license revocation.

Hawaii's Ignition Interlock Permits for DUI Offenders

During the revocation period, a driver can apply for an ignition interlock device (IID) permit. The permit authorizes the holder to drive during the revocation period, but only in a vehicle with a certified IID. The IID permit is not available for offenders under the age of 18.

Hawaii's Employment Permits for DUI Offenders

A revoked driver may also be eligible for a permit authorizing the operation of work vehicles.

Review Process for Administrative License Suspensions in Hawaii

A revoked driver can make a written request for a review of an administrative license revocation. The time to request a hearing differs based on the type of suspension and the review sought. Basically, the review process allows drivers to contest an administrative license suspension.

Hawaii's Underage DUI Law

In Hawaii, drivers who are under the legal drinking age (21 years old) are prohibited from operating a vehicle with any measurable amount of alcohol in their system. In other words, Hawaii has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving.

For a first offense, the driver faces a 180-day license suspension (after 30 days, a restricted license is available for drivers who are at least 18 years old) and will have to complete an alcohol education and counseling program (for drivers under the age of 18, a parent must also attend).

The judge can also require the driver to complete up to 36 hours of community service and pay a fine of $150 to $500.

Talk to a Hawaii DUI Attorney

Plea bargaining for a lesser offense (like a reckless driving charge) in DUI cases is barred by state law. If you are charged with a DUI, it is best to consult with an experienced DUI attorney who can help you decide how to best handle your case.

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