Hawaii DUI: Refusal to Take a Blood, Breath or Urine Test

In Hawaii, if you get pulled over for a DUI and the officer asks you to take a blood, breath, or urine test, do you have to take one? What happens if you refuse?

Implied Consent

Hawaii law requires you to take a breath, blood, or urine test if you are arrested for a DUI. Hawaii’s “implied consent” law says that if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving or boating under the influence, then you consent to taking a blood or breath test, or both, (if suspected of alcohol intoxication), or urine test (if suspected of drugs). Regardless of the basis, any of the tests results may be used for determining your blood alcohol content (BAC).   The test must be taken as soon as possible from the time when you were last driving or boating.

Once you are arrested and refuse to take a test, the officer should tell you that your license will be suspended. After the officer tells you the consequence for refusal, he or she must ask whether you still refuse. At that point, you could change your mind and not face any penalty for your initial refusal. If you do change your mind and choose to take a test, then you have the option of asking for an additional test, at your expense,  to be taken by a medical professional of your choice.

In most situations, if you refuse to take a mandatory blood, breath, or urine test, you cannot be forced to do so. Where the incident that caused you to be arrested also caused injury to yourself or another person, however, the state can force you to take a test. Also, the state may administer the test if you are unconscious or dead, even if you haven’t yet been arrested.

You can read Hawaii’s implied consent law in Hawaii Revised Statute 291e-11. For information on consent to tests where there has been injury or death, see the Hawaii Revised Statutes 291e-14 and 291e-21.

Refusing to Take the Test


1st  Offense

2d Offense

3rd  Offense

Refusal to take test

1 year license revocation

2 years license revocation

4 years license revocation

In Hawaii, you will lose your license for one year for your first refusal. For your second and any subsequent refusal, the court could suspend your license for two to five years. In addition to the suspension,  the state  requires you  to  be assessed by a certified substance-abuse counselor. This counselor could recommend treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, which you could be ordered to attend and pay for.

Even with a suspended license, you may be able to keep driving if you install an ignition-interlock device on your car and request a permit based on this limitation. You may also be able to drive your employer’s car without an interlock device if you need to drive it as part of your job. You would need a special permit for this work exception. You cannot get one without sworn statements from both you and your employer that you would drive the car only at specific times to do your work.  

The penalties for refusing to submit to a chemical test are found in Hawaii Revised Statutes 291e-41 and 291e-65. You can read about the ignition-interlock permits in Hawaii Revised Statute 291e-44.5

Should You Refuse to Take a Mandatory DUI Test in Hawaii?

It usually does not help you to refuse to take a blood, breath, or urine test when you are arrested for a DUI. In Hawaii, the consequences for refusal are milder than those for a DUI, which could include a combination of jail time, fines, community service, substance abuse rehabilitation programs, and suspension of your driver’s license. Refusing the test does not guarantee that you won’t be convicted – you can still be found guilty of a DUI even if your refusal means that the state does not have proof that your BAC was over.08%, the legal limit for those over 21. In fact, the prosecution can use your refusal against you by arguing that you refused the test because you knew that you were intoxicated and guilty of DUI.

(Check out our  blood alcohol content chart  for an estimate of how many drinks it takes to get to the legal limit.)

Get Help With Your DUI

If you have been arrested on a DUI charge in Hawaii or any other state, get help from an experienced DUI attorney. Unlike other traffic related charges, which might be worth fighting without a lawyer, conviction for a DUI has serious consequences – especially if the incident involved injury to people or property, or if it’s your second or subsequent DUI. To avoid or reduce the consequences, your best bet is to find an attorney who is knowledgeable about your state’s laws and about how the system works in your county’s court.

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