In Hawaii, charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) are not like common traffic citations. While these crimes are commonly treated as misdemeanors, offenders face significant long-term penalties, even for a first conviction. Since blood alcohol content (BAC) tests measuring less than the .08 percent legal limit do not protect drivers from conviction if they exhibit any form of driving impairment, individuals facing DUI charges need to retain immediate legal support to obtain the best possible results for their cases.
A fourth DUI conviction is considered a Class C felony in Hawaii, earning the offender the title of habitual offender, up to five years in prison and numerous other severe penalties. However, according to the Hawaii State Legislature the state imposes any or all of the following punishments - even for a first conviction:
- Required attendance in a substance abuse rehabilitation program
- License revocation for a year and installation of an ignition interlock device on any vehicle operated by the individual during that period, assuming the offender has a conditional permit to drive to work or to substance abuse programs
- Any combination of community service, jail time ranging from 48 hours to five days, and fines and surcharges
People arrested and taken into custody on DUI charges have the right to exercise their Miranda rights, which include the right to an attorney. Even when BAC test results meet or exceed .08 percent, a skilled Hawaii DUI lawyer has many ways to refute the evidence or cite mitigating circumstances that can greatly improve the outcome of their clients' cases.