CRIMINAL PENALTIES: FIRST OFFENSE

    If you are convicted for a first offense DUI (or an offense that is treated like a first offense because it is not "preceded within a five-year period by a conviction for an offense under [section 291E-61] or section 291E-4"), you "shall be sentenced as follows without possibility of probation or suspension of sentence:

(A)  A fourteen-hour minimum substance abuse rehabilitation program, including education and counseling, or other comparable program deemed appropriate by the court;

(B)  One-year revocation of license and privilege to operate a vehicle during the revocation period and installation during the revocation period of an ignition interlock device on any vehicle operated by the person;

(C)  Any one or more of the following:

              (i)  Seventy-two hours of community service work;

             (ii)  Not less than forty-eight hours and not more than five days of imprisonment;

                    or

            (iii)  A fine of not less than $150 but not more than $1,000;

(D)  A surcharge of $25 to be deposited into the neurotrauma special fund; and

(E)  A surcharge, if the court so orders, of up to $25 to be deposited into the trauma system special fund;

   If the judge wants to throw the book at you, it is possible to get "... [s]eventy-two hours of community service work" plus "five days of imprisonment" plus a $1,000.00 fine. However, on Oahu, it is quite rare for anyone who has not requested credit for time served in jail to be sentenced to jail on a first offense DUI.  Some judges impose higher than minimum fines for cases with what they consider to be egregious factors (e.g. high alcohol concentration test results, motor vehicle accidents, uncooperative conduct during the arrest, etc.). Community service is generally not ordered, unless requested by a defendant whose financial circumstances make it impossible, or a hardship, to pay a fine.

    The "fourteen-hour minimum substance abuse rehabilitation program" requirement can be satisfied by: (1) attending driver's education classes sponsored by the Court (usually conducted on three different days for approximately 4 hours per day - with weekend classes sometimes available); (2) completing a qualifying military substance abuse awareness program; or (3) completing a "comparable program" that has been pre-approved by the County Division of Driver's Education (e.g. 14 hours of driver's education classes somewhere on the Mainland).

    For many military members, the mere fact of an alcohol related incident will prompt either an order into, or a voluntary self-referral to, a military substance abuse awareness program. The successful completion of a qualifying military substance abuse awareness program will satisfy the "fourteen-hour minimum substance abuse rehabilitation program" requirement.  However, you will still need to provide the County Division of Driver's Education with the information and/or paperwork it will need to verify your successful completion of the military program.

    If the ADLRO has already revoked your driving privileges and imposed an ignition interlock requirement on you, the Court's sentence in your criminal case will not duplicate that requirement.  HRS 291E-61(g) states:

No license and privilege revocation shall be imposed pursuant to this section if the person's license and privilege to operate a vehicle has previously been administratively revoked pursuant to part III for the same act; provided that, if the administrative revocation is subsequently reversed, the person's license and privilege to operate a vehicle shall be revoked as provided in this section.  There shall be no requirement for the installation of an ignition interlock device pursuant to this section if the requirement has previously been imposed pursuant to part III for the same act; provided that, if the requirement is subsequently reversed, a requirement for the installation of an ignition interlock device shall be imposed as provided in this section.

 In addition to these mandatory penalties, the HRS 291E-61(h) also requires that:

(h)  Whenever a court sentences a person pursuant to subsection (b), it also shall require that the offender be referred to the driver's education program for an assessment, by a certified substance abuse counselor, of the offender's substance abuse or dependence and the need for appropriate treatment.  The counselor shall submit a report with recommendations to the court.  The court shall require the offender to obtain appropriate treatment if the counselor's assessment establishes the offender's substance abuse or dependence.  All costs for assessment and treatment shall be borne by the offender.

       The substance abuse assessment that HRS 291E-61(h) requires is basically the same substance abuse assessment that will be required by the ADLRO (if the ADLRO revokes your driving privileges).  You will not have to do two different assessments.  One qualified assessment will be sufficient to meet both the ADLRO's and the Court's two separate requirements.  If you complete a military substance abuse awareness program, a component of that program will have been a substance abuse assessment. Both the ADLRO and the Court will accept a military substance abuse assessment (and the completion of any recommended treatment) as sufficient to satisfy their requirements. 

    To get the substance abuse "assessment" required by HRS 291E-61(h), you will be required to make an appointment for an intake interview with the County Division Of Driver's Education for the county that you live in.  The contact information for the Oahu branch is:

                County Division of Driver's Education

                1001 Bishop Street Suite 555

                Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

                808-531-8080

    Call the County Division Of Driver's Education and request an appointment for an "intake interview." Make the call as soon as possible.  It may be months before the next available appointment.  You cannot get a clearance for re-licensing after a revocation until the County Division Of Driver's Education has reported to the ADLRO and/or the Court that you have complied with all that you were ordered to.  Make your appointment as soon as possible!  If you beat the cases against you in the ADLRO and the Court, you can cancel the appointment.  Otherwise, you will need it, and won't want to be told that you have to wait three more months, or even three days, past the ending date of the revocation to get in to see a caseworker.    

    At an intake interview, the County Division Of Driver's Education caseworker who conducts the intake interview will refer you to a certified substance abuse assessor for an assessment of your "substance abuse or dependence and the need for appropriate treatment", if any.  If the substance abuse counselor makes a determination that you have a problem with alcohol abuse or dependence, you can be ordered as part of your sentence for the criminal case get "appropriate treatment." If you do not want to be ordered to attend meetings of alcoholics anonymous, to get outpatient counseling, receive inpatient treatment, etc., you had better ensure that the substance abuse counselor has all of the information that is needed to avoid making such a recommendation (e.g. you accept responsibility for the error of your ways, you have stopped drinking, you are remorseful for all the trouble you have caused for others, and it will never happen again). 

    In addition to the potential fine ($150 to $1,000) and surcharges described above ($50 to $100)you will also be required to pay $100 as a special DUI assessment fee. You will also be required to pay $30.00 as "contribution" to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund and $7 as a  contribution to help to fund driver's education classes.

    There is also a $250.00 Drug Demand Reduction fee that can assessed.  However, all but $50 or $100 of the possible $250, is often waived by the Court on the condition that the rest of the sentence is complied with.  In such cases the payout for the fee can be reduced to only $50 or $100 (if at the Proof of Compliance hearing the Court is satisfied that the defendant complied with the rest of the sentence). 

    Finally, for those who took a blood alcohol concentration test, 291E-61(f) states: "Any person sentenced under this section may be ordered to reimburse the county for the cost of any blood or urine tests conducted pursuant to section 291E-11. The court shall order the person to make restitution in a lump sum, or in a series of prorated installments, to the police department or other agency incurring the expense of the blood or urine test."

    Here is what an accounting for a case in which a $250 fine is ordered could look like:

        $250    fine

        $  25    neurotrauma surcharge

        $  25    trauma surcharge

        $100    dui assessment fee

        $  30    criminal injuries compensation fund

        $    7    driver's education fee

        $  50    drug demand reduction assessment ($200 waived if compliant)

        $487

    If you have bail posted in your case, you may be allowed to apply the bail toward your fines and fees.  In the preceding example, application of a $500 bail for payment of fines and fees would result in a bail refund of $13.  If you do not have bail posted, or cannot pay immediately, the court will usually give you up to 60 days to make any payments.

    The short term fines, fees and penalties listed above are bad enough.  However, in the over the course of a lifetime, these fines, fees and penalties are merely a temporary problem.  The permanent damage from a criminal conviction is having to answer, for the rest of your life, the question "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" with anything other than a "No" answer.

 

Contact Mr. Mac Master today!

(808) 531-8080

click below to send e-mail to Mr. Mac Master

alohaleg@pixi.com


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