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If you're headed to a luau, you know it's not a real party until someone cracks open a bottle of okolehao -- otherwise known as "Hawaiian Moonshine." But if you're planning to partake, make sure you pick a designated driver before the festivities get underway. If you've been charged with a DUI while in Paradise, read the information below on Hawaii drunk driving laws and say Aloha to the potential penalties for your offense.
If a law enforcement officer has "reasonable suspicion" that you're driving under the influence, the officer can pull you over and test you. Law enforcement officers can use a series of tests known as field sobriety tests to determine whether you are intoxicated. In addition, to determine your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC), the officer will administer a breathalyzer or chemical blood test.
Under Hawaii's implied consent rule, if you are driving on Hawaii's roads, you have consented to being tested (Sec. 291E-11). If a breathalyzer is used, the officer must get two test results, both of which must show a level at or above the legal limit. If the officer uses a blood test, only one result is needed as long as it is conclusive.
When it comes time to determine your punishment, Hawaii has a five-year "washout" period. This means that when the judge is deciding your sentence, only DUIs you were convicted of in the last five years will count toward your number of prior convictions.
Hawaii uses the same limits as most other states:
Penalties for Drunk Driving:
Additional Penalties for Drunk Driving with a Minor:
Read the full text of Hawaii's statutes for more information.
In most cases, the most effective way to fight a DUI charge is to make one of the following arguments. The first is to argue that the officer unlawfully pulled you over in the first place. The second is to argue that a non-standard field sobriety test was used, such as counting backwards. The third is to argue that the breathalyzer machine malfunctioned. Finally, if none of those arguments applies or works, you can argue that the officer who administered the sobriety tests was improperly trained.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified drunk driving lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local drunk driving attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.