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Hawaii Court Records

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Sealing and Expunging Criminal Records in Hawaii

In Hawaii, a sealed record is not available to the public without a court order. When a record is sealed the court preserves the data, but the information is restricted to eligible persons. However, expunged records are only available to law enforcement agencies. The Hawaii Judiciary seals juvenile records automatically when the bearer is 21 years or older. The Department of the Attorney General handles expungement via the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center. Expunging a record takes at least 120 days.

The Difference Between Sealing and Expunging Criminal Records

In Hawaii, sealing a record is more efficient than expunging a record. Interested persons cannot access a sealed case file without an order from the court. Expunging a record entails removing the information from the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center. Following the expunction of a record, the bearer can deny arrests and convictions to get a job, education, or apartment. However, expungement does not remove or seal the criminal data from the Hawaii Judiciary system as law enforcement agencies can access such records. Nevertheless, if it is a non-conviction record, a record’s expungement includes removing the documents from the arresting agency.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How to Seal a Criminal Record in Hawaii

According to HRS § 831–3.2, interested persons can involve an attorney to assist during the record sealing process. To seal a criminal case in Hawaii, the requestor must obtain a Certificate of Expungement from the Department of the Attorney general, write and mail a letter requesting sealing to the court that expunged the record. The written request should contain the phone contact, full name, and current mailing address of the requestor. If the court judge honors the request, the requester will receive the sealing order by mail. To confirm the sealing of the criminal records, applicants can check online.

What Crimes Can Be Expunged in Hawaii

In Hawaii, the expungement of criminal records is available for some offenses, such as:

  • Felony and misdemeanor that did not result in a conviction
  • Convictions for first time drug-related crimes as seen in §706–622.5.
  • Convictions for a DUI of persons under the age of 21, according to §291E–0064(e).
  • First-time property offense, following §706–622.9.

How to Expunge Criminal Records in Hawaii

The Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center is in charge of all adult record sealing and expungements. To request expungement, complete and file the expungement form with the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center. The application form differs depending on the defendant’s claim.

Parties must attach specific court documents if the expungement concerns a first-time drug conviction or a DUI. Once the applicant files the request, the Criminal Justice Data Center will review the application and either grant or deny the expungement. The expungement process typically takes four months from the date of filing before getting a response. The filing fee for a first time adult expungement amounts to $35. However, additional expungement applications will cost $50. The charges include a non-refundable $10 administrative fee. Parties should pay by cashier’s check or money order.

There are waiting periods for certain forms of cases. If the defendant made a deferred acceptance of guilty or no contest plea, expungement is possible one year after the court dismissed the case. If an individual faced prostitution charges and made a deferred acceptance of guilty or no contest plea, the court permits expungement four years after dismissal. If the Criminal Justice Data Center grants the petition, the bearer can lawfully state that the expunged criminal record does not exist.

Do Sealed Records Show up In Hawaii Background Checks?

Yes, sealed records show up in Hawaii background checks. Although a sealed record in Hawaii is not accessible to the public, it can show up in a job application. Following HRS § 378–2.5 (also known as the Ban the Box Law), parties can make inquiries into criminal history after the applicant receives a conditional employment offer. The purpose of the “ban the box law” is to encourage employers to consider a job applicant’s credentials before disqualification based solely on criminal records. However, certain employers are exempted and are expressly permitted to inquire into case files for employment purposes. These include schools, financial and insurance institutions, as well as armed security providers.

Who Can See Sealed Criminal Records in Hawaii?

After sealing a criminal record in Hawaii, institutions, bodies, and individuals that can still access the information on criminal records include:

  • Law enforcement agencies, including the police, peace officers, and the Federal Bureau of Intelligence.
  • Employers
  • Hospitals
  • Any organization that requires interaction with children
  • Fire departments
  • Security providers
  • Motor vehicle agencies in Hawaii
  • Mortgage licensing departments
  • Licensing agencies in Hawaii

How to Obtain Sealed Records in Hawaii

Persons who wish to obtain a sealed record must complete and submit a Request to Access Court Records form. The court clerk will duly communicate the cost of copying these documents.

  • Criminal Records
  • Arrests Records
  • Warrants
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Federal Dockets
  • Probate Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Divorce Records
  • Death Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • And More!