Hawaii's Drugged Driving Laws

Learn about the penalties for drugged or high driving in Hawaii.

Impaired driving is illegal in Hawaii regardless of whether the impairment is caused by marijuana, alcohol, or another intoxicating substance. But the investigation, trial, and conviction penalties can vary depending on the level and type of impairment. This article explains how drugged driving can lead to an impaired driving conviction as well as the associated penalties.

Level of Drug Impairment That Can Lead to a DUI

Hawaii's DUI laws prohibit operating or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant (OVUII)—commonly called "driving under the influence" or "DUI." For purposes of the state's DUI laws, a driver is considered under the influence if his or her ability to operate a vehicle in a careful manner is impaired by drugs or other intoxicants.

Impairment. Unlike some other states, Hawaii doesn't have a per se limit on drug metabolites (similar to the .08% blood alcohol concentration limit). So, to be convicted for driving under the influence of drugs, the prosecutor must prove that the driver was impaired. Proof of impairment might include blood test results, expert testimony, and the observations of the arresting officer.

Impairing substances. Hawaii statutes contain a list of drugs that can lead to a DUI charge. This list of controlled substances includes many street drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines but also many prescription medications. And holding a valid prescription isn't a legal defense to an impaired driving charge.

Hawaii DUI Penalties

Drugged driving is generally a misdemeanor and the penalties are the same as those for drunk driving. Hawaii counts all prior DUI offenses within the last ten years.

First offense. For a first drugged driving conviction, the driver faces a one-year license revocation and will be required to complete a 14-hour rehabilitation program. The offender can also face 72 hours of community service, 48 hours to five days in jail, and $250 to $1,000 in fines.

Second offense. A second drugged driving offense in ten years will result in a license revocation of two to three years, $1,000 to $3,000 in fines, and five to 30 days in jail (the court can order community in lieu of jail time).

License reinstatement. A revoked driver must complete a driver education program assessment prior to license reinstatement.

Restricted licenses. Some drivers might be eligible for a restricted ignition interlock license to drive during the revocation period.

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