Hawaii criminalizes driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and alcohol. The offense is sometimes called an “OVUII” (operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant), and includes actual operation or being in actual physical control of a vehicle:
A DUI involving a BAC of .08% or more is considered a per se DUI. For a per se DUI, impairment is presumed and does not have to be proven.
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.
First offense. An offender with no prior DUI convictions in the last ten years will face a one-year license revocation, a 14-hour rehabilitation program, and one or more of the following:
Second offense. 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.
Child passenger. A DUI involving a passenger under the age of 15 carries an additional $500 fine and additional 48 hours in jail.
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.
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 suspension. 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.
Refusal. 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 two years, three years, four years, and ten years, for a first, second, third, and fourth or subsequent refusal, respectively.
Conviction. A DUI or habitual 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. And a habitual violator DUI carries three to five years of license revocation.
Ignition interlock devices. 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.
Employment permit. A revoked driver may also be eligible for a permit authorizing operation of work vehicles.
Review. A revoked driver can make a written request a review of an administrative license revocation. The time to request a hearing differs based on the type of suspension and the review sought.
Hawaii drivers who are under the age of 21 are prohibited from having any measurable amount of bodily alcohol. The penalties for an underage DUI depend on the number of prior offenses in the last five years.
Refusal. Implied consent also applies to drivers under the age of 21. An officer who has probable cause to believe an underage driver has been drinking can request a chemical test. An unlawful test refusal will result in the same revocation periods as a standard implied consent refusal.
IID permit. Drivers are not eligible for the IID permit until at least 18 years old.
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.