Hawaii may seem like the perfect place to live or escape for a while. As laid back as island living may appear, rules and regulations apply. Driving in Hawaii can be particularly tricky due to wind and rain. Drivers must always be alert and this means no drinking and driving. A nearly 30 percent increase in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities per 100,000 residents between 2002 and 2012 has resulted in a serious crackdown on DUI.
First DUI Conviction Penalties in Hawaii
Blood-alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent is considered legally intoxicated in Hawaii. Law enforcement officials will not hesitate to arrest drivers even if impaired driving ability is not evident. Drivers in Hawaii automatically provide consent for chemical testing to determine BAC, limiting their excuses. Refusing to take a blood or breathalyzer test results in revocation of the driver license for one year for first-time offenders.
An initial DUI conviction in Hawaii also requires one-year driver license suspension and mandatory participation in an alcohol education program with either an assessment or treatment program. First-time offenders are also subject to 72 hours of community service, a fine of $150 to $1,000, and/or 48 hours to five days in jail. Hawaii also requires ignition interlock device (IID) installation for all DUI convictions. First-time offenders must drive with an IID installed in their vehicles for one year.
DUI lawyers in Hawaii can help offenders successfully fight the charge by exposing arrest and testing errors as well as other mistakes. However, even they cannot get a DUI pleaded down to a wet reckless charge, which equates to reckless driving that involves alcohol. State statute bars plea bargaining for a wet reckless conviction so drivers who are guilty of DUI must suffer the consequences.
Underage DUI in Hawaii
Minors caused 3.7 percent of all alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in Hawaii in 2012, directing the attention of officials. Hawaii instituted a zero-tolerance DUI law regarding drivers younger than 21. The maximum BAC for minor drivers is zero percent, so any presence of alcohol in the system will result in arrest.
Being convicted of DUI as a minor subjects a driver to fines of $50 to $500, up to 36 hours of community service, driver license suspension for 180 days, and up to ten hours in an alcohol counseling and education program. Drivers 18 or older transporting passengers younger than age 15 are subject to even harsher penalties. These include an additional fine of $500, license suspension up to two years, and 48 hours in jail.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.