Hawaii outlaws the act of driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. To compel drivers to avoid this crime, it implements a number of stringent DUI laws designed to harshly punish DUI offenders.
Drivers who are keen to avoid getting a DUI while driving in Hawaii need to know the legal blood alcohol content or BAC levels. They also need to be aware of the legal penalties involved with being found guilty of a DUI.
DUI in Hawaii
Hawaii actually uses several definitions for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The per se definition for DUI in Hawaii is having a BAC of 0.08 percent. This standard definition applies to drivers of privately owned motor vehicles who are 21 years old and older.
It is also defined in the state as operating a vehicle while under the influence of enough alcohol that it impairs a person’s normal mental faculties or his or her ability to properly guard against casualties while driving. Another definition in Hawaii for DUI is being under the influence of any drug that impairs a person’s ability to operate a vehicle in a prudent and safe manner.
If the person’s BAC is 0.15 percent or higher, he or she can be charged with an enhanced DUI. The driver can also be charged with an aggravated DUI if he or she drives a car while impaired with a passenger who is younger than 14 in the vehicle at the same time.
Commercial drivers in Hawaii can be charged with a DUI if their BACs are higher than 0.04 percent. Hawaii also has a zero tolerance law for underage drivers. They cannot have any trace of alcohol or drugs in their bodies while they are driving any kind of motor vehicle.
DUI Penalties in Hawaii
Hawaii uses a variety of penalties to address driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These punishments are meted out according to a person’s prior DUI history.
A first-time DUI offender in Hawaii typically will be sentenced to a 14-hour minimum substance abuse program. He or she also can have his or her drivers’ license suspended for one year. After the license is reinstated, the offender must use an ignition interlock device or IID for one year.
Additional penalties for a first-time DUI conviction include:
- 72 hours of community service
- Jail sentence of 48 hours to five days
- A fine of $150 to $1000
If the DUI offense occurs within five years of the prior conviction, the offender can have his or her license revoked for 18 months to two years. The person must also use an IID after he or she gets the license reinstated. Additional penalties include a minimum of 240 hours of community service, five to 30 days in jail, and a fine of $500 to $1500.
If a person is convicted of a DUI within five years of two prior DUI convictions, this offender can expect to receive a fine of $500 to $2000 and a license suspension of up to two years.
He or she will also be required to use an IID for two years after he or she gets driving privileges reinstated. The offender likewise may have to serve a jail sentence of 10 to 30 days.
People convicted of aggravated DUIs receive slightly harsher sentences. A common punishment for an aggravated DUI in Hawaii is a fine of $500 and a license revocation of two years.
Underage DUI in Hawaii
Hawaii’s zero tolerance laws prohibits drivers under the age of 21 from having any amount of drugs or alcohol in their bodies while they are driving. Minors convicted of DUI in the state can expect to receive penalties that rival those received by adult offenders. These punishments are designed to discourage young drivers from committing DUI offenses in the future.
A first-time conviction for underage DUI or any DUI conviction within a five-year period for a minor results in a loss of driving privileges for 180 days. The underage offender likewise has to perform 36 hours of community service and pay a fine of $150 to $500.
If the offender is younger than 18, his or her parents or guardian likewise will be required to complete an alcohol awareness education program. The parents or guardian have to finish the program within the allotted time frame as outlined by the court.
Implied Consent in Hawaii
Like other states, Hawaii has implied consent laws that require drivers to comply with DUI testing if they are detained by law enforcement. In exchange for their driving privileges in the state, they agree to provide a sample of their breath, urine or blood if law enforcement has just cause for detaining them for suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Their sample is used to determine what their BAC is at the time of their arrest.
Drivers can refuse to provide samples for testing. However, they do so at their own risk of incurring a range of legal penalties.
A first-time implied consent testing refusal can result in having driving privileges suspended for one year. A second refusal within five years can lead to a suspension of one’s drivers’ license for up to two years.
A third refusal within five years can result in a loss of driving privileges for up to four years. A driver who refuses two or more tests can also be ordered by the local court to submit to an assessment by a substance abuse counselor. This individual may also be ordered to complete a drug or alcohol abuse program at his or her own expense.
Hawaii strictly prohibits the crime of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Its DUI laws apply to drivers of all ages as well as underage drivers and drivers of commercial vehicles. People who are found to be in violation of Hawaii’s DUI laws can incur penalties ranging from fines to loss of driving privileges. They can also serve jail time for being convicted of repeat DUIs.