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Frequently Asked Questions

  • DUI Attorney in Honolulu
  • Daniel Kawamoto Lawyer

Questions about DUIs & Your Driver’s License

I was arrested for a DUI. How do I get my license back?

If you are arrested for a DUI and have a valid license, the police will automatically take your license away from you.  From there, the license will be sent to the Administrative Driver’s License Revocation Office (the ADLRO), and they will most likely revoke your license for a certain period of time, as specified by law.  They have 8 days from the date of arrest to make this decision and mail it to you.

In order to get your license back, you need to request a hearing with the ADLRO.  This must be done within six days of the date they mail the decision to you in order to get a “timely hearing.”  It must absolutely be done within 60 days of the arrest to get any type of hearing at all.

If you prevail at the hearing, the ADLRO will return your license to you.  Keep in mind, even if you receive your license back from the ADLRO, a conviction for a DUI in court will also result in a loss of license.

If I lose my license, can I still drive?

Yes, there are a number of different permits that will allow you to continue driving, even if your license is revoked.

First, if the police take a valid license from you upon your arrest, they will also issue you a temporary permit to drive.  This permit has no restrictions.  It can be used to drive anywhere, anytime, and for any reason.  This permit is good for 30 days, but can be extended under certain circumstances, even if your license is revoked.

Second, you can get an ignition interlock permit (IIP), or an employer permit.  Either permit will allow you to continue driving, even if your license is revoked.

What is an Ignition Interlock Permit (IIP)?

The ignition interlock is a device that is installed in your vehicle.  Once installed, the vehicle will not start unless you blow into the device and register under .02 breath alcohol.

If you get an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, you are eligible for an IIP.  The permit will be valid for the duration of the license revocation (unless your license expires).  In addition to the ignition interlock, you will also need valid car insurance and a valid Hawaii State ID to get the permit.  As with the temporary permit, the IIP does not have any restrictions.

What is an Employer Permit?

The employer permit is intended for people that drive work vehicles.  It does not apply to driving your personal vehicle to and from work, or even for driving your personal vehicle for work purposes.  It is intended for people who drive company-owned vehicles for work, who are not allowed to install an ignition interlock in that vehicle.

The employer permit must be signed off by your work supervisor.  The permit allows you to drive work vehicles for work purposes within a 12 hour time period.


Questions about DUIs & Court

What are the penalties for a DUI? Will I go to jail?

In Hawaii, there are graduated penalties for DUIs, depending on how many prior DUIs a person has.

For a first offense DUI, the penalties are as follows:

  • 14 hour substance abuse rehabilitative class.  This is a two day alcohol class taught by the Driver’s Education department.
  • Substance Abuses Assessment and Treatment.  This is a short assessment by a counselor to determine if you have an alcohol problem.
  • Court fees totaling $412.  In most cases, the court will suspend a portion of these fees.
  • Fines, ranging from $150 to $1000.
  • Community Service work for 72 hours.  This is an optional penalty that the court can impose.
  • Jail, between 48 hours to 5 days.  Only in very rare cases will jail time be imposed for a first offense DUI.
  • 1 year revocation of driver’s license.  Even if your license is returned to you from the ADLRO, the court will still revoke it for 1 year, if you are convicted.

How long will the DUI stay on my record? Can I expunge my DUI case?

If convicted, the DUI will permanently stay on your record.

You can only expunge the DUI if the case is dismissed.  If you are convicted of the DUI, you cannot expunge it from your record.  Expungements can be done one year after the date of dismissal.

Can my case be won?

Every case is different, and no attorney can promise that your case will be won.  What I can promise is I will work hard on your case to try to secure the best outcome possible and to give you the best possible chance of winning.


Questions about Criminal Cases

I was arrested and have a court date. What do I do?

If you have been arrested for a crime, the first court date that is given to you is an arraignment date.  If you do not have an attorney, you MUST appear at your court date.  It is a good idea to consult with an attorney to discuss your options prior to your arraignment date.

I was arrested for a felony and released. What happens next?

Sometimes the police arrest a person and release them without having to post bail.

If you are “Released No Charge,” you most likely will never have to appear in court for the crime you were arrested for.  If you are “Released Pending Investigation,” the case is still active and could result in charges being filed against you in the future.

If you are Released Pending Investigation, you can consult with an attorney to make sure you are protected in the event charges are filed against you.  For instance, you can hire a bail bondsman to help secure a quick release if you are charged with a crime.

Additionally, an attorney can try to contact the prosecutor’s office and attempt to convince them to not bring the case, or to reduce the charges.


Questions about Hawaii Bench Warrants

Many years ago, I got a bench warrant in Hawaii. What can I do to remove it?

Outstanding bench warrants can prevent you from getting a driver’s license and can have other negative impacts on your life.

Bench warrants can be removed in three different ways.  Two of these methods are probably not something you would like to do.  You can remove a bench warrant by posting the amount of the warrant or warrants with the court.  Or you can turn yourself into the police or sheriff’s department.

The third option, which I can help with, is to file motions to recall any outstanding bench warrants.  This can be done even if you have permanently left Hawaii.  Once the bench warrant is removed, the case can be resolved.