The Hawaii DUI and OVUII Guide
Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant
Highly Intoxicated Driver
Driving While Revoked /
Driving While License Invalidated
DWLS / DWLR / DWR
What is the difference between a DUI, OVUII, OUI, DWI, etc.?
These terms are all acronyms that refer to the crime commonly known as "drunk driving." Different states have different names for the charge. For example, in Oregon the charge is known as a DUII (driving under the influence of an intoxicant); in Texas the charge is referred to as a DWI (driving while intoxicated). Hawaii law uses the terms "operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant" or OVUII; however this acronym is often shortened to DUI. This website uses the terms OVUII and DUI interchangeably.
I just got arrested for a Hawaii OVUII / DUI offense. What happens next?
ISSUE ONE: The Hawaii Implied Consent / Administrative License Revocation Proceeding: Your Hawaii driver license (or your right to drive in Hawaii if you're not a Hawaii licensed driver) was most likely revoked for anywhere from 90 days to life for failing or refusing a breath, blood, or urine test.
The Administrative Driver License Revocation Office "ADLRO" reviews proposed revocations. If you act very quickly, you have the right to submit written information to the ADLRO for them to consider in considering whether to uphold the administrative revocation. Speak to an experienced Hawaii DUI lawyer before submitting any information to the ADLRO.
Within days of your arrest, the ADLRO will issue an administrative review decision which typically upholds the administrative revocation. If you or your attorney make a timely request, you have a right to have a hearing on this decision. The purpose of this hearing is to challenge your license revocation and / or request a conditional permit to drive for work related purposes. Again, it is recommended that you speak to an experienced Hawaii DUI lawyer before requesting this hearing.
Keep in mind, you face a separate license revocation if you are convicted of a Hawaii OVUII / DUI charge. See below.
ISSUE TWO: The Hawaii OVUII / DUI Criminal Charge: Separate from the implied consent administrative revocation is the criminal charge of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant (OVUII / DUI) and possibly other charges. You were probably arrested / cited for one form of OVUII. Under Hawaii law, it is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of alcohol or drug(s) or a combination of alcohol and drug(s) to drive a vehicle. It is also unlawful for any person to drive a vehicle if the person has 0.08 percent or more alcohol in his or her blood as measured by a breath or blood test.
It is now also a crime to refuse to submit to a breath or blood test.
Read your paperwork carefully, and do not miss any court appearances or a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
Important: These two issues (the implied consent / administrative revocation proceeding and the criminal charge) are separate from one another. For example, if you do not challenge your implied consent (ADLRO) revocation or if you lose your appeal, your revocation will remain in effect even if you DUI charge is reduced or even if you're found not guilty.
Will my Hawaii driver license be revoked / suspended?
RELATED TO ISSUE ONE ABOVE: Your Hawaii driver license (or your right to drive in Hawaii if you do not have a valid Hawaii license) may be suspended for failing or refusing a breath, urine, or blood test. Refer to the discussion above. If you had a valid Hawaii license at the time of the arrest, the officer will generally issue you a temporary permit.
RELATED TO ISSUE TWO ABOVE: If you are convicted of the Hawaii DUI charge you will face a separate suspension of your Hawaii license (or your right to drive in Hawaii if you don't have a valid Hawaii license).
Also keep in mind that your Hawaii drivers license can be suspended / revoked for a variety of other reasons such as for driving while revoked, failing to pay child support, etc..
What happens if I get caught driving while my driving privilege (license) is suspended / revoked?
Operating a vehicle after your license and privilege has been suspended or revoked for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant (OVUII / DUI) is a new misdemeanor crime. If convicted of this charge, you face a sentence of three to thirty days in jail, a fine of at least $250 and an additional one year license revocation. If you have a prior driving while privilege suspended / revoked (involving a DUI related revocation) in the last five years, you face at least 30 days in jail, $1000 fine, and a two year revocation. A third conviction within 5 years will result in one year confinement and a permanent license revocation.
I really need to drive. Will I be able to get a conditional / occupational / restricted license?
A conditional license permit may be available to you if
when you're facing a suspension related to a Hawaii DUI ADLRO / conviction.
ORL's are generally limited to driving for work and alcohol treatment.
There is a waiting period before you're eligible for an conditional
There is a waiting period before you're eligible for an conditional license permit.
Speak to your Hawaii DUI lawyer about whether you qualify and how to apply for this conditional license permit. Conditional license permits are NOT available to drive commercially / commercial vehicles.
Is a OVUII / DUI in Hawaii a misdemeanor or felony charge?
In Hawaii, a DUI charge is usually a misdemeanor crime. However, habitually operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant is a class C felony. Habitually OVUII means you have three or more prior DUI convictions in the past 10 years before you received the current charge.
It is petty misdemeanor to refuse to submit to a breath or blood alcohol test.
What type of penalties might I face if I am convicted of an Hawaii DUI charge?
Upon conviction of a Hawaii DUI, a defendant can receive a variety of penalties including alcohol screening / treatment / education. A range of typical penalties for Hawaii OVUII / DUI convictions is set forth below.
Note: Two aggravating factors are important in sentencing. First, if your BAC equals or exceeds .15 percent, you can expect a longer license suspension for your first conviction (with no possibility of a conditional license permit). Second, if you have a prior DUI conviction(s) within the past five years, penalties are enhanced.
As noted above, if you have three or more prior OVUII convictions within the past 10 years, you face a felony charge of habitually operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant. This charge comes with a possible five year prison sentence (although a five year probation sentence is possible). If sentenced to probation, the court must impose at least a 10 day sentence and a one to five year license revocation along with other penalties.
Will I be able to plea bargain / negotiate my Hawaii DUI charge down to a lesser type offense?
Possibly. Plea bargaining and reduction of the OVUII / DUI charge to reckless driving or negligent driving are two areas that any experienced Hawaii DUI lawyer would discuss with the prosecutor on the client's behalf.
Will a Hawaii DUI conviction go on "my record?"
Yes. An OVUII / DUI conviction will go on your Hawaii driving record.
Just how much jail time / prison time will I have to do if I am convicted of a OVUII / DUI in the State of Hawaii
The amount of incarceration (jail or prison) received will depend on a number of factors, including (but not limited to) the following:
• your prior driving record especially your prior OVUII history (in Hawaii and elsewhere);
• your level of intoxication / BAC (breath / blood alcohol content);
• whether there was an crash involved;
• whether there was an injury to another person in the collision;
• which Hawaii district court your case is in;
• what judge you are sentenced by;
• whether there was a passenger (especially a child) in your car;
• whether the judge feels you have accepted responsibility for your actions.
I am licensed to drive in a state other than Hawaii and I was cited for a DUI in Hawaii while on business / vacation. Will my driver license be suspended / revoked?
Hawaii only has the authority to revoke your right to drive in the State of Hawaii. However, Hawaii and 44 other states and the District of Columbia have adopted an agreement known as the "Driver License Compact." Hawaii will report an Hawaii OVUII / DUI conviction to the home state of the driver (assuming the home state has also adopted the Compact). Your own state will then generally take action to suspend your license.
Hawaii Revised Statutes §291E-42 provides that, "When a nonresident's driving and boating privileges, and motor vehicle registration if applicable, are administratively revoked under this part, the director shall: (1) Notify, in writing, the officials in charge of traffic control, boating control, or public safety in the nonresident's home state, and in any other state in which the nonresident has driving and boating privileges, licenses, or any motor vehicles registered if applicable, of the action taken in this State . . ."
This also works in reverse. If you are a Hawaii licensed driver and you are convicted of a DUI or similar charge in another state, Hawaii will likely suspend your license when it learns of the out of state conviction.
Will I have to install an Ignition Interlock Device on my car?
An ignition interlock device (IID) is a breath alcohol measuring device that is connected to your motor vehicle ignition. In order to start the vehicle, a driver must blow a breath sample into the device which then measures alcohol concentration. If the alcohol concentration exceeds the startup set point on the interlock device, the vehicle will not start. You also need to blow into the device periodically while you drive the vehicle. The device typically costs about $90 per month to keep in your vehicle.
Hawaii law now requires persons convicted of a DUI / OVUII to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for a year or more.
What will an Hawaii OVUII / DUI charge do to my ability to obtain / keep automobile insurance?
If your insurance company finds out about a Hawaii DUI one of two things typically happen. Either your insurance company will raise your rates or you may be cancelled or non-renewed. Your insurance company will learn of your Hawaii OVUII if you have to file an SR-22. See below.
What is an SR-22 / Certificate of Insurance?
An SR-22 is a certificate of insurance from a Hawaii licensed insurance company certifying that you have purchased liability insurance that meets minimum required coverage limits. The certificate of insurance provides proof to the Division of Motor Vehicles that you are insured. If you cancel your insurance or the insurance company cancels your policy before your suspension period is over, the company must notify the Department of Licensing that the certificate is canceled. If you are required to have a SR-22 on file, a copy of your insurance binder or your insurance card is not considered acceptable proof.
An SR-22 may be required in your case. Talk to your Hawaii lawyer about whether this requirement applies to your situation. If required, the SR-22 must be kept on file for three years.
I'm not a United States citizen. Will an Hawaii DUI conviction result in my removal from this country?
Probably not. Typical, first offense Hawaii DUI's are not considered crimes of moral turpitude or aggravated felonies resulting in removal. It is important to consult an experienced immigration lawyer about your situation just as you should consult with an experienced Hawaii criminal defense lawyer about your pending DUI charge.
Keep two points in mind. First, it is very important to answer honestly all questions about prior arrests / convictions on immigration and Visa applications and forms. Lying on these forms is often considered more serious than any DUI conviction. Second, non-citizens must take extra care not to drive on a suspended or revoked license.
What happens if I was on probation when I got arrested for my Hawaii DUI offense?
Committing a new offense while you're on probation for a previous crime creates two problems. First, you face the new Hawaii DUI charge. Second, you face a probation violation hearing for failing to obey all laws (a standard condition of probation). The most serious scenario is when you receive a new Hawaii DUI when you're already on probation for a previous DUI offense. When this happens, its in your best interest to speak to a Hawaii DUI lawyer as soon as possible.
Are there special concerns for licensed pilots who get a Hawaii DUI?
Yes. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has special reporting requirements for Hawaii DUI convictions and administrative (implied consent) driver license suspensions. Learn more here.
Are there any concerns for mariners licensed by the United States Coast Guard who get a Hawaii OVUII?
Yes. An applicant for a Coast Guard credential must disclose all criminal convictions on their application form. In addition, the Regional Exam Center performs a National Driver Register check on all applicants. Once a OVUII conviction is identified, the Center will evaluate the applicant's conviction and the associated facts.
I missed my court appearance. What do I do now?
Failing to appear (FTA) for a Hawaii criminal court appearance should be avoided. When you miss court, bad things happen. At a minimum, the court typically issues a warrant for your arrest (commonly known as a bench warrant). You may also face an additional criminal charge. Talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. Sometimes, your only option is to turn yourself in on the outstanding warrant. A new court date will then be scheduled.
Can I represent myself in court on my Hawaii DUI and / or other criminal charge(s)?
Yes. You have an absolute right to represent yourself on any Hawaii criminal charge no matter how serious the offense including a Hawaii OVUII / DUI charge. Keep in mind that the law related to administrative license suspensions and DUI defense are complex areas of law and experienced counsel can be very beneficial. If you cannot afford to hire your own Hawaii OVUII lawyer, you definitely should apply for a court appointed attorney to represent you. You have no right to a court appointed lawyer at the administrative license revocation appeal.
Copyright 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 by David N Lesh
Websites, including this one, provide general Hawaii OVUII information but do not provide legal advice or create an attorney / client relationship. General information cannot replace legal advice specific to your case or situation. Consult qualified Hawaii Drunk Driving lawyers for advice about any specific problem or DUI charge that you have. Hawai'i lawyers are governed by the Hawai'i Rules of Professional Conduct. This website may be considered an advertisement for services under these Rules. Information contained in this website is believed to be accurate but is not warranted or guaranteed in any way. No lawyer associated with this website is specialized or certified in any way. This site is not a solicitation for attorney services; rather, it is purely informational. FAQ's and Help. The Supreme Court of Hawaii grants Hawaii certification only to lawyers in good standing who have successfully completed a specialty program accredited by the American Bar Association.
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