Is DUI a Felony in Hawaii?
Hawaii takes driver safety very seriously and individuals who drive under the influence (DUI) or drive while intoxicated (DWI) are likely to experience a series of problems depending on the nature of the offense and just how often a driver has been pulled over before.
Hawaii’s DUI Laws
Like all 50 states, Hawaii uses a .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit to determine if a driver is operating a motor vehicle while drunk. However, Hawaii can also charge a driver with DUI if that individual is found to be impaired through the use of alcohol and other drugs.
Driving after drinking – even a single beer – is dangerous. Buzzed driving is still drunk driving because you’re not at your best behind the wheel. Alcohol, even in small amounts, slows reaction time and changes perceptions of what’s actually going on around the driver.
So, a BAC of .08% or a combination of a BAC and positive test results for marijuana, are likely to cost that driver a lot of money in legal fees, and she may even lose her license if this has happened more than once.
Hawaii traffic law says that if you get behind the wheel of a car, you’re in physical control of that vehicle. By driving, you automatically agree to submit to chemical testing including providing a breath sample and blood sample if law enforcement believes the driver is under the influence of several intoxicants.
A driver may pass the breathalyzer test but when the blood test results show high levels of THC (the active ingredient in pot) the driver is likely to be charged with a felony.
Do you have to take a breathalyzer test or other tests to determine the level of intoxicants in your body while driving in the Aloha State? According to NOLO.com, you don’t have to but expect to pay a price for refusing to be tested:
1st offense: one-year loss of license
2nd offense: two years loss of license
3rd offense: two years loss of license
What about minimum jail time for a DUI offense in Hawaii? Once again, the penalty increases with each offense:
1st offense: no minimum required jail time
2nd offense: 240 hours of community service
3rd offense: up to 10 days of jail time
A judge is also required to order ignition interlock devices placed on cars of drivers who have been convicted of a DUI. This is true of all drivers found guilty of driving under the influence.
1st offense: one-year installation of ignition interlock
2nd offense: 18 months
3rd offense: 24 months
How Many Drinks is Too Many?
Is one drink too many? Five? How much is too much when it comes to getting behind the wheel after a night out on the town?
Some studies show that a single drink can raise BAC by as much as .05% BAC, which means two drinks puts you over the BAC threshold of .08%. However, intoxication from drinking depends on a number of factors including:
• height and body weight
• time intervals between drinks
• time between drinking and driving
Some establishments that serve alcohol keep a breathalyzer in the house to let patrons test their own BAC. That tells you just how serious the DUI problem is in Hawaii. If you have to test yourself to see if you’re legally under the .08% BAC limit, (1) you may still be impaired even under the legal limit, and (2) you’ve got a problem – a substance abuse problem and that substance is for sale in most towns in Hawaii and on the mainland.
The safest solution – the smartest solution – is simply don’t drink and drive. That way, you’re reflexes are faster, your judgment clearer, your vision better, and you and the innocent drivers who share the road with you are safer.
Time to Get Help
If you have to test yourself for BAC, or if you’ve had one or more DUI infractions, you’re out a lot of money in legal expenses, you may have lost your driver’s license, auto insurance costs could easily double, you’ll be required to attend a drivers’ education program, and now you have a record with Hawaii’s law enforcement authorities.
Think for a minute. Is it really worth the risk?
If you drink and drive, alcohol isn’t fun anymore. It’s dangerous, it’s expensive, it puts the lives of innocents in danger, it requires you to attend driver’s education classes and a DUI conviction can trash your reputation in the community. You may even lose your job!
Time to get some help.
Hawaii Island Recovery, located on the beautiful tropical island of Hawaii, is a small, eight-bed facility that employs a variety of traditional and holistic therapies to help you beat alcohol addiction and the trouble such an addiction can cause.
Call us. Email us. Drop us a letter. We’re open 24/7/365 because addiction doesn’t follow a clock or calendar. Talk to one of our professional, experienced staff, and keep yourself and our roads safer.
Hawaii Island Recovery – call today and get yourself back on the road to sobriety.