Criminal Defense

OUI/DUI– Effective July 1, 2019 a new law took effect providing tougher penalties for drunk or drugged driving offenders. A first time OUI (no prior convictions in the preceding 10 years) offender is now looking at a mandatory fine of at least $250 but not more than $1000, and/or 72 hours of community service work and/or a minimum of 48 hours jail but not more than 5 days jail. There is also a one year mandatory license revocation.

For a second offense (one prior conviction in the proceeding 10 years) the penalties are now either 240 hours of community service work or at least 5 days in jail but no more than 30 days in jail, a fine of at least $1000 but no more than $3000 and a license revocation between 2-3 years.

Habitual OUI/Felony OUI– The new law (effective July 1, 2019) also lowers the threshold for a habitual OUI (Felony) arrest and charge from three or more OUI convictions in the prior 10 years to two or more convictions in the past 10 years. This is significant as it raises the penalties for a third OUI from 10 to 30 days jail to a possible five-year prison term or five years probation and a fine of between $2,000 to $5,000. In addition, any vehicle owned and operated by the person committing the crime may be subject to forfeiture.

ADLRO– The Administrative Driver’s License Revocation Office (ADLRO) is the Civil Administrative agency that conducts reviews and hearings regarding the administrative revocation of driving privileges of all respondents arrested in the state of Hawaiʻi for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant (OVUII) and habitual OVUII (or DUI). The ADLRO process begins as soon as you are arrested and a revocation of your license can become effective as quickly as 30 days from the date of your arrest. You may be eligible to continue to drive during your revocation period with the installation of an Ignition interlock device.

Restricted License– If you had a valid license that you are unable to renew because of outstanding fines you may be eligible to apply for a restricted license. This would allow you to drive while making payments towards your outstanding fines.

Lifetime Revocations– If your license has been revoked for life or for any period of time by the ADLRO you may be eligible to Petition the Courts to get your Instructional Permit and then your Driver’s License with an Ignition Interlock Device. After driving for 5 continuous years with the Ignition Interlock Device and no violations you could then potentially get your driving privileges fully instated.


Traffic Offense– Traffic Offenses are the most commonly handled by way of citation. This is a ticket given to you by a Police Officer. If it has a court date you must appear at the Court on that date and time otherwise a bench warrant could issue for your arrest. These are typically for traffic crimes cut as Excessive Speeding, Reckless Driving, Inattention, or Driving Without a License.

Petty Misdemeanors– Petty misdemeanors are crimes that are punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or up to a $1000 fine. These crimes are typically Theft, Shoplifting, Disorderly Conduct, Harassment, Contempt of Court, Failure to appear, and a majority of traffic offenses.

Misdemeanors– Misdemeanors are crimes that are punishable by up to a year in jail and/or up to a $2000 fine. When charged with a misdemeanor in Hawaii you have a right to demand a jury trial. This is an important right that should not be waived arbitrarily. Its an important decision that should be thoroughly discussed with your attorney.

Felonies– Felonies are the most serious criminal offenses. There are three different types of Felonies. A class C Felony is one punishable by up to 5 years in prison and would include charges such as Habitual OUI, Assault 2, and most Drug Possession crimes. A class B Felony is punishable by unto 10 years in prison and would include charges such as Assault 1 and Burglary. A class A Felony is punishable by 20 years to life in prison and as such this classification is reserved for only the most serious crimes.

Abuse of a Family or Household Member (Domestic Violence)– Abuses cases are handled by the Family Court. These types of crimes depending on the nature of the offense can be charged as either Misdemeanors or Felonies. First-time offenders that are charged with misdemeanor Abuse of a family member and must serve a minimum jail sentence of 48 hours.If the violence consists of strangling or restricting the neck and airflow in any way or the violence occurs in front of a child the offense is automatically a Class C felony.

Environmental Court– Hawaii’s Environmental Courts have broad jurisdiction, covering water, forests, streams, beaches, air, and mountains, along with terrestrial and marine life. Hawaii’s Environmental Courts began operations on July 1, 2015. Environmental Court judges are designated in both the district and circuit courts throughout Hawaii, for both civil and criminal environmental cases. Numerous criminal offenses are heard in Environmental Court. Examples include: Taking more than one’s share of Ulua and Pāpio (bag limit 20), taking undersized He‘e (octopus, tako, squid) (minimum size 1 pound), entering state property where prohibited (for example, Sacred Falls on Oahu is closed, but many venture into the state park anyway), hunting on private land or taking or harassing a monk seal.

Moloka’i, Lana’i, Hana and Lahaina District Courts– The County of Maui is comprised of five separate District Courts. There are Court Houses on the Islands of Moloka’i and Lana’i. Moloka’i District Court meets on the first, second and fourth Tuesday of the month and Lana’i District Court meets on the third Tuesday of the month. Hana District Court meets on the first Friday of the month. Lahaina Court meets on Mondays and Wednesdays every week. Depending where on the Island you were cited or arrested will determine which Court you will be required to attend. Wailuku District Court is the busiest of all the Courts and meets everyday of the week.

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