DUI & Excessive Speeding

Two of the most common traffic crimes are Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant (DUI) and Excessive Speeding.

If you are convicted of either of these crimes, it will result in you having a criminal record. Having a criminal record may affect your current or future job, and educational prospects.


Being arrested for a DUI charge starts a complex and oftentimes confusing journey. When you are arrested for DUI, two things happen. First, the criminal case is initiated against you. Second, an administrative proceeding commences to determine whether your driver’s license will be revoked and how long the revocation will be. Keep in mind that the criminal case and the administrative proceeding are completely separate processes. The criminal case is to determine whether you are guilty of driving under the influence. The administrative proceeding is a civil proceeding pertaining to your license revocation.

Because of the complexity of the DUI process, it is generally a good idea to seek legal advice quickly as the administrative license revocation process begins from the time you are arrested. Upon arrest, the police will usually provide you with documents pertaining to the administrative license revocation. Also, within eight days of your arrest, the Administrative Driver’s License Revocation Office (ADLRO) must mail you a “Notice of Administrative Review Decision” which outlines steps you must take to contest your license revocation. Because the ADLRO hearing is a civil proceeding, the Public Defender’s Office cannot represent you at the hearing. If you want to fight your license revocation with the assistance of an attorney, you must hire one on your own.

With respect to the criminal case, being convicted of DUI can result in fines and court fees, community service and incarceration as well as various classes and assessments and possible auto insurance consequences. The penalties increase for subsequent DUI offenses.

For a first DUI offense, the license revocation is between one to two years. For subsequent DUI offenses, the license revocation period increases (three to four years for a second offense, and four to eight years for a third offense). During these revocation periods, some people qualify to pay for an ignition interlock device to be installed in their vehicle and obtain an ignition interlock permit to drive.

For more information on the ignition interlock law or to further understand the law’s intricacies, you should contact our office or another attorney familiar with the ignition interlock law or visit the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation website at:

With respect to the criminal DUI case, a conviction for a first offense triggers the following penalties:

  • A 14-hour DUI driver’s education class,
  • A substance abuse assessment,
  • Court fees,
  • A concurrent one-year license revocation,
  • And one or more of the following:
    • $250 to $1000 fine, and/or
    • 72 hours of community service work, and/or
    • Two to five days in jail

    Additionally, if you are convicted as a highly intoxicated driver, meaning your BAC was 0.15 or greater, the court must sentence you to two days in jail and add six months to the license revocation.

Excessive Speeding

Excessive Speeding is a traffic crime with unusually harsh penalties. We recommend contacting an attorney if you are charged with excessive speeding because many of these cases can be defended on legal grounds.

The Hawaii Excessive Speeding statute states that:

  • No person shall drive a motor vehicle at a speed exceeding:
    • The applicable state or county speed limit by thirty miles per hour or more; or
    • Eighty miles per hour or more irrespective of the applicable state or county speed limit.
    • For the purposes of this section, “the applicable state or county speed limit” means:
      • The maximum speed limit established by county ordinance;
      • The maximum speed limit established by official signs placed by the director of transportation on highways under the director’s jurisdiction; or
      • The maximum speed limit established pursuant to section 291C-104 by the director of transportation or the counties for school zones and construction areas in their respective jurisdictions.
    • Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor and shall be sentenced as follows without the possibility of probation or suspension of sentence:
      • For a first offense not preceded by a prior conviction for an offense under this section in the preceding five years:
        • A fine of not less than $500 and not more than $1,000;
        • Thirty-day prompt suspension of license and privilege to operate a vehicle during the suspension period, or the court may impose, in lieu of the thirty-day prompt suspension of license, a minimum fifteen-day prompt suspension of license with absolute prohibition from operating a vehicle and, for the remainder of the thirty-day period, a restriction on the license that allows the person to drive for limited work-related purposes;
        • Attendance in a course of instruction in driver retraining;
        • A surcharge of $25 to be deposited into the neurotrauma special fund;
        • May be charged a surcharge of up to $100 to be deposited into the trauma system special fund if the court so orders;
        • An assessment for driver education pursuant to section 286G-3; and
        • Either one of the following:
          • Thirty-six hours of community service work; or
          • Not less than forty-eight hours and not more than five days of imprisonment.

        The penalties for Excessive Speeding increase for second and third offenses. The penalties for Excessive Speeding are unusually high, even for a first offense. These penalties are also mandatory, which means that even if this is the first ticket you ever received in your life, the judge will have no choice but to sentence you to the aforementioned penalties if you are convicted of Excessive Speeding.

        In addition to the criminal penalties, being convicted of Excessive Speeding will require you to obtain SR-22 auto insurance (high-risk insurance).

        As previously mentioned, many Excessive Speeding cases can be defended on legal grounds, and you should contact an attorney for a consultation.

**This website is for informational purposes only. Nothing on this website is meant to be or should be construed as legal advice. Before making any decisions about your case, please consult with an attorney as the facts and circumstances of every case is different.