Like all states, Hawaii prohibits operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant (OVUII) or "driving under the influence" (DUI). The offense is defined as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more or while your ability to carefully and prudently drive is impaired. While a misdemeanor DUI carries serious penalties in Hawaii, those penalties are even more severe if the offense is charged as a felony.
This article explains how driving impaired can lead to felony charges in Hawaii.
An offender who has two prior OVUII/DUI convictions in the last ten years will be charged with a felony "habitual violator" DUI. A habitual violator DUI is a class C felony and can result in five years of prison time. If the judge grants probation, the driver will serve at least ten days in jail, pay $2,000 to $5,000 in fines, complete substance abuse counseling, attend the driver's education program, and be subject to three to five years of license revocation.
Once a person is convicted of a habitual violator DUI, future DUIs will also be charged as habitual violator DUIs.
An impaired driver who negligently causes serious bodily injury to another will be charged with "negligent injury in the first degree," a class C felony. A class C felony carries up to five years in prison and a maximum of $10,000 in fines. The offender may still be subject to the DUI charge and associated penalties.
A driver who causes a death while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be charged with first-degree negligent homicide. First-degree negligent homicide is a class B felony and carries up to ten years in prison and a maximum of $25,000 in fines.