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OVUII in Hawaii

What is an OVUII in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant (OVUII) refers to impaired driving. Driving under the influence (DUI) may also be used in place of OVUII in the state. Under the Hawaii Motor and Other Vehicles Code, Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant is defined as being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the intoxication of any drug or sufficient amounts of alcohol which may cause impairment or affect the abilities of the operator to drive the vehicle carefully. A driver is also guilty of an OVUII offense if the individual possesses a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08% or 0.02% at 21 years.

Hawaii State Judiciary prosecutes persons liable for OVUII violations. If convicted, following the Hawaii Motor and Other Vehicles Code, the offender is likely to go to prison, pay fines or perform community service. Additionally, an OVUII conviction in Hawaii will likely be included in the offenders Hawaii criminal record, depending on the severity of the crime.

Notably, Hawaii may report a case of a DUI violation of a visiting person to the offender’s home state, and the violator is likely to receive the corresponding punishment when the party returns to their state.

What is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in Hawaii?

Hawaii does not distinguish the offense of Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant (OVUII) based on the amount of the intoxicating substance present in the offender’s blood, urine, or breath. Thus unlike other states in the United States, all OVUII offenses in Hawaii are charged as the same type of violations and issued similar penalties, regardless of the quantity of the intoxicating substance present within the offender. Therefore, the severity of the punishment against an OVUII offender depends on other factors surrounding the case. This includes the presence of a child under the age of 15 years in the vehicle and the offender’s history with OVUII offenses.

Hawaii DUI Laws

Chapter 291E, Title 17 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes states the types of conduct considered as Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant (OVUII), the associated penalties, and the procedure for prosecuting offenders. Behaviors identified as OVUII offenses under the drunk driving laws of the state of Hawaii include:

  • Operating a vehicle or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in amounts sufficient to impair the operator’s normal mental faculties or ability to drive safely
  • Driving an automobile under the influence of a drug may affect the driver’s mental ability to drive carefully.
  • Operating a vehicle with a 0.08 blood alcohol concentration or more
  • If the operator is under the age of 21 and operates a vehicle or is in actual physical control of a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .02 or more

Hawaii also allows the collection of the blood or urine of a suspected OVUII offender for testing without the express consent of the violator if the party is in a vulnerable condition and incapable of giving consent (including death or unconsciousness). OVUII offenses in the state of Hawaii are further penalized by the Administrative Driver’s License Revocation Office (ADLRO). The agency is a government entity that revokes the driving license of motorists convicted of OVUII offenses. This agency also issues out special permits for drivers with suspended licenses which authorizes such drivers to operate vehicles for some particular purpose only, such as commuting to work or school.

OVUII Penalties in Hawaii

Persons guilty of DUI/OUVII receive punishment according to the frequency at which the parties commit these traffic offenses. For instance, a first-time DUI offender may get a lesser penalty than a person caught driving under intoxication for the third time in ten years. Typically, the consequences for OUVII offenses include:

Fines: Convicted persons may pay certain sums of money, ranging from $150 to about $5,000 as fines depending on previous convictions. The offender may also pay other fees, including the cost for the blood or urine test conducted, a surcharge to the neurotrauma special fund, and/or a surcharge to the trauma system special fund.

Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device: A prosecuted DUI violator may install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. The ignition interlock device is an equipment with an alcohol sensor that takes breath samples from a vehicle operator to determine if the driver is intoxicated. The device is connected to the vehicle’s ignition system and may not allow the driver to start the engine if the party’s breath sample contains alcohol.

Imprisonment: The court may detain a person guilty of DUI/OVUII in a holding facility such as a jail or a prison for a specified duration.

Mandatory Rehabilitation Programs: A DUI/OVUII offender may attend a substance abuse rehabilitation program, education, or counseling according to the court’s discretion.

License Revocation: The Administrative Driver’s License Revocation Office may revoke the driver’s license of a DUI/OVUII violator for a year or more. During this period, the motorist would be unable to operate a motor vehicle legally. As a result, the offender may have to obtain a special permit to drive a car to school or work.

Community Service: The court may order a driver to partake in community service for a specified number of hours if there is proof that the party is guilty of a DUI violation.

What Happens When You Get a DWI in Hawaii?

Hawaii classifies all traffic violations involving intoxication while operating a vehicle as to the same offense, and the procedure for handling the crime remains the same. There is no separate classification for Driving While Impaired (DWI). However, the term that addresses impaired driving in Hawaii is Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant (OVUII).

What Happens When You Get a DUI for the First Time in Hawaii?

Regardless of the intoxicant, persons who operate vehicles while under the influence of substances capable of impairment for the first time in Hawaii are subject to the same punishments. According to HRS § 291E-64, the penalties for a first time DUI/OVUII offense or an OVUII violation not preceded by any other OVUII act within ten years include:

  • Substance abuse rehabilitation program for 14 hours
  • Revocation of license for one year

Anyone or more of the following:

  • Between two days to five days imprisonment
  • Between $250 to $1000 fine
  • $25 surcharge

The offender might pay $500 or more if a minor was present in the vehicle when the party was driving under the influence. The violator may also spend extra 48 hours in prison and get a two-year license revocation.

What is the Penalty for a Second DUI in Hawaii?

When an individual gets another DUI within ten years of a former DUI charge, that individual is likely to face license revocation for no less than two years but not exceeding three years and must install an ignition interlock device mandatorily. Furthermore, the court may order the traffic offender to partake in community service for about 240 days, pay a fine between $1,000 and $3,000 as well as a surcharge of $50. The incarceration period for a second DUI offense is usually between five to 30 days.

Meanwhile, if a child under 15 years of age was in the vehicle during the traffic violation, the offender pays an additional $500 fine and stays in prison for 48 hours extra. The Administrative Driver’s License Revocation Office may also revoke the violator’s driver’s license for at least two years. A second-time DUI violator under the age of 21 is liable to pay fines from $300 to $1,000, get a one-year license revocation and spend up to 50 hours in community service.

What Happens After a Third DUI in Hawaii?

If a traffic violator is guilty of another DUI after two previous DUI convictions within ten years, then the party is a habitual offender. Usually, regular violations attract the most severe punishments. As a result, a third DUI offense in Hawaii is a class C felony with penalties such as five years imprisonment or probation. The five-year probation may include:

  • Revocation of license for at least three years but no more than five years
  • Imprisonment for at least ten days
  • A fine of no less than $2,000 and no more than $5,000
  • A referral to a certified substance abuse counselor
  • A surcharge of up to $50

In addition to these punishments, the offender may have to forfeit the vehicle to the Department of Transportation. Suppose the violator is under 21 years, the penalties include license revocation for two years, 100 hours of community service, and fines between $300 to $1,000.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, a DUI remains on a driver’s record for five years after the conviction. However, a second DUI within that period only counts as a subsequent offense. Nevertheless, if the driver commits another DUI after five years from the first DUI, it is regarded as a first-time DUI offense. While it is impossible to delete a DUI record in Hawaii, the court permits the expunction of DUI files for persons under 21, according to HRS § 291E-0064(e).

DUI Expungement in Hawaii

Under HRS § 291E-0064(e), expugnable DUI convictions include offenses by first-time drug offenders and drivers younger than 21 years. In Hawaii, the court is the only entity that grants expungement. Therefore, upon expunction, the arresting agency and statewide repository of adult criminal history records delete the DUI file. However, DUI charges without final disposition do not qualify for deletion.

Concerned persons may expunge a DUI record by completing the Expungement Application form. After filling the form, the applicant submits the document together with a copy of the Order Granting Expungement of Conviction. The expungement process takes about 120 days to finalize. After completion, the applicant receives a certificate of expungement.

A first-time DUI expungement applicant must pay a fee of $35, while a person who has had a previous expunction pays a sum of $50. These fees are inclusive of the non-refundable processing charge of $10. As a result, upon an unsuccessful application, the court refunds the application fee and subtracts the service charge. Interested persons may pay the money by cashier’s check or by money order. A petitioner needing clarification on whether a conviction qualifies for expunction or not should consult an attorney or a Hawaii-licensed lawyer or review Hawaiian statutes.

How Likely is Jail Time After a First DUI in Hawaii?

Not likely. Typically, a first-time DUI offender faces a minimum incarceration period of five days, but at the judge’s discretion, the court may waive the jail time. Regardless, the DUI violator may serve other punishments such as license suspension, community service, and pay a fine of up to $1,000 (maximum).

What is the Average Cost of DUI in Hawaii?

Getting a DUI charge may take a toll on the offender’s finances. First, persons guilty of DUI pay fines, and the possible minimum fine is $150 for a first offense, while subsequent offenses may be as high as $5,000. Furthermore, DUI violators may pay a $25 surcharge toward the neurotrauma fund and a $25 fee for the trauma system fund. For persons with a blood-alcohol level of 0.15% or higher, an additional $25 payment applies. The court also imposes a $500 mandatory fine if a passenger under the age of 15 was in the vehicle at the time of the arrest. In Hawaii, drivers under the age of 21 must not operate a vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their system. However, as a first DUI offense, the court may enforce a minimum $50 fine and not more than $500 in a fine.

Asides from the payment of fines, a DUI conviction also translates to an increase in insurance rates of up to 211%. For instance, an insurance company may charge $1,045 annually without a DUI, but once the subscriber gets sentenced for DUI, the car insurance rate changes to $3,247. Meanwhile, if a DUI violator decides to contest the DUI charge in court, the party accrues legal costs. A representing attorney may charge at least $1,325 for a first offense. However, the circumstances of the case play an important role in determining the legal cost.

Since a DUI violator less than 21 years of age must attend an alcohol abuse education and counseling program, the party must cover the program’s cost. Depending on the number of hours the court prescribes, the fee for the program may range from $175 to $595. To mention, DUI offenders who got a license suspension and want to reinstate the license pay between $20-$500. Other costs include towing fees. Towing fee in Hawaii is about $65 to $75 at most. There is also an extra cost of $7.50 per towing mile. Storage costs also apply, and it is $25 per day for a week and $20 after that first week.

How Much is Bail for a DUI in Hawaii?

The bail amount for a DUI offense in Hawaii is $1,000. Usually, after the arrest, the judge sets bail to ensure the defendant’s release pending the time the court communicates the trial date rather than stay in detention. Upon release, the offender must appear for any court date, and failure to do so attracts severe penalties. Families of DUI violators who cannot afford the bail bonds may employ the services of bail bonding companies.

How to Get My License Back After a DUI in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, the requirements for regaining a suspended license depend on the circumstances surrounding the DUI incident. At the end of a suspension period, DUI offenders receive instructions to recover their licenses. To reinstate a driver’s license, an interested party must:

  • Submit an SR-21, SR-22, or any other proof of insurance to the Administrative Driver’s License Revocation Office.
  • Complete court sentences
  • Complete the alcohol education program (if applicable)
  • Pay a fee of $20 for reinstatement. Payment is only possible by check or money order and via mail.
  • Renew the standard license to obtain a new license.

Applicants who wish to drive to work during the suspension may apply for a conditional license. As a requirement, drivers must show proof of employment and the possibility of losing their jobs. Also, the offender needs to prove that there is no alternative form of transportation. However, DUI violators who refuse to take the BAC test are not eligible for a conditional license. Nevertheless, it is important to be aware that concerned drivers cannot operate vehicles during the suspension. Anyone caught is liable for up to five years in prison or increased suspension.

Apart from driving under the influence, other offenses that may make a driver get a license suspension include:

  • Reckless driving and excessive speeding
  • Failure to insure a vehicle
  • Mental health issues
  • Failure to appear in court
  • Failure to pay fines
  • Inability to pay child support

How Does a DUI Affect Your Life in Hawaii?

A DUI conviction not only results in jail time, fines, and other punishments, it may have other effects on the motorist. The first repercussion is an increase in car insurance rates. Once there is a DUI conviction on a person’s driving record, it may be difficult for the party to obtain insurance. Also, a DUI offender may face potential difficulties professionally, especially a person who works for the military or holds security clearances. The violator may lose access to a job. In addition, a DUI offender is likely to get a license suspension which may hinder free movement.

Meanwhile, commercial drivers convicted of DUI face at least one year of disqualification from driving a commercial vehicle. If a commercial driver is convicted of a second DUI while operating any vehicle, the offender is permanently ineligible to operate commercial vehicles. As an additional punishment, offenders may have to install an ignition interlock device. The device analyzes the breath-alcohol concentration and prevents the driver from starting the engine if the concentration level is high.

Can You Get Fired for a DUI in Hawaii?

Yes. According to the State of Hawaii Wage Standards Division, most employers have the right to fire an employee for any reason, except stated otherwise. Therefore, an impaired driving conviction may also restrict employment opportunities in certain fields. In most cases, companies that expect employees to drive regularly may not hire persons with DUI convictions. Using a company car may put the organization at risk for higher insurance payments and increased risk to the business.

How Do I Find DUI Checkpoints in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, DUI checkpoints are legal. Sobriety checkpoints are another common method that police use to curtail drunk driving. Motorists in Hawaii are likely to encounter one of these checkpoints in an area with a high level of traffic. Sometimes, drivers receive detailed notifications of upcoming checkpoints ahead of time. And other times, interested persons may have to check online or with the local law enforcement agency to find DUI stops. Nevertheless, law enforcement authorities usually set up these roadblocks during peak traffic hours when impaired drivers are most likely to be on the road.

However, the police may not stop a vehicle unless there is a reason to believe the driver committed a crime or traffic violation. While law enforcement authorities have different tactics to spot drunk drivers in Hawaii, there may be increased patrols around noteworthy events to catch drivers before accidents occur.

Which is Worse, DUI vs. DWI?

Under the law, DUI means driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs of any kind, including prescriptions or illegal drugs. DWI means driving while intoxicated. Therefore, drinking and driving is a DWI offense, and in many states, alcohol is involved. However, both terms may be interchanged, but DWI refers more to how well the intoxicant has metabolized in the offender’s system. Unfortunately, there is no separate classification for DWI violations in Hawaii.

The state of Hawaii has created a zero-tolerance policy for DUI. Such offenses may result in prosecution and possible license suspension via the Administrative Driver’s License Revocation Office (ADLRO). In most cases, ADRLO takes immediate measures against the offender’s license.