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Hawaii Court Records

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Felonies, Misdemeanors, and Infractions in Hawaii

Hawaii’s criminal justice system classifies offenses into three grades: felonies, misdemeanors, and violations. Felonies and misdemeanors are considered crimes in the state of Hawaii and are punishable by imprisonment and fines. The Hawaii penal code lays out the guidelines for definitions, penalties, and sentencing of crimes in Hawaii. Summarily, Hawaii state crimes are tried on the basis of the aforementioned classification.

What is a felony in Hawaii?

Felonies are offenses punishable by prison terms of more than one year (HRS 0701–0107).. Felonies are the most serious grade of offenses. They include but are not limited to crimes such as offenses against the person, offenses against property, and family. In Hawaii, felonies include first and second-degree murder, first and second-degree attempted murder, and felony classes A, B, and C.

  • Class A felony: These offenses are considered the most serious and are punishable by imprisonment of up to 20 years without the possibility of probation or sentence suspension. They are also punishable by fines of up to $50,000 or both imprisonment and fines. As provided by the statute HRS 706–659, the Hawaii paroling unit may determine the minimum sentence for Class A felonies. Kidnapping is a Class A felony in Hawaii (HRS 707–720)
  • Class B felony: Offenses designated as Class B felonies are punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years and no less than 5 years. They are also punishable by fines of up to $25000, or both imprisonment and fines. Second-degree forgery is a Class B felony in Hawaii (HRS 708–851).
  • Class C felony: These are the least serious felony offenses, punishable by imprisonment for up to 5 years and fines of up to $10,000. They may also be punished by both imprisonment and fines. Credit card theft is a Class C felony in Hawaii (HRS 708–8102). As with other felony crimes, the Hawaii paroling unit may determine the minimum sentence for Class C felonies.

In Hawaii, first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder are punishable by imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole. At the end of 20 years, the sentence may be commuted to imprisonment for life with the possibility of parole. Persons under the age of 18 who are convicted of murder and attempted murder may be sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. Second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder are punishable by imprisonment for life with the possibility of parole. (HRS 706–656).. Persons convicted of felony crimes may have their sentences extended if the court determines that the extension is in the public good (HRS 706–662)..

What are some examples of felonies in Hawaii?

The following are examples of felonies in Hawaii:

  • Use of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony
  • Selected sexual offenses
  • Manslaughter
  • Identity theft
  • Unauthorized computer access
  • Robbery
  • Arson
  • Computer damage
  • Theft
  • Telemarketing fraud
  • Unlicensed contractor fraud
  • Trademark counterfeiting
  • False labeling Hawaii-grown coffee
  • Reckless endangering
  • Criminal property damage
  • Violation of privacy
  • Unauthorized entry into vehicles
  • Unauthorized possession of personal confidential information
  • Sex Offenses

Can I get a Felony Removed from a Court Record in Hawaii?

Records of non-convictions in Hawaii may be removed by a process of expungement. This means that if a person is arrested but not charged with a crime, or charged but not convicted, they are eligible to apply for expungement. When a person’s record is expunged, information about their arrest will be removed from the state’s database of criminal history records. If the arrest did not result in a conviction, the record will also be expunged from the arresting agency’s database. If an expungement was granted for conviction information, the arrest record may still be available at the arresting agency. However, expunged records will not be removed or sealed in the state judiciary. To be eligible for expungement, non-convictions records must not be of:

  • Arrests of felonies or misdemeanors where no conviction has been obtained due to bail forfeiture
  • An involuntarily hospitalized person
  • A person whose charges were dismissed due to their mental status
  • Persons who did not show up for prosecution

In the case of a deferred guilty or no contest plea acceptance, records are not eligible for expungement until one year after the case is dismissed (HRS 831–3.2)..

Persons eligible for expungement may also request a return of the fingerprints and pictures taken in connection to the arrest. The request will be granted within 120 days, except such a person has a conviction record or is a fugitive from the law. Fingerprints and photographs of convicted persons may be retained by arresting agencies.

Juvenile records may be expunged on application by the person, their parents, or guardians if the following conditions are met:

  • The case was not prosecuted or referred to the family court
  • The person was counseled and released by the police and is now an adult
  • The matter was prosecuted and the person was found not guilty by the family court
  • The case was dismissed with prejudice

If an expungement is granted, the court will forward copies of the expungement order to the department of the attorney general and the police department for the expungement of arrest records. The person whose record was expunged will also be granted an exemption certificate. This will authorize them to legally say that they have no arrest records (HRS 571–88)..

Not many adult conviction records can be expunged in Hawaii. For the eligible convictions, the records will be removed from state databases but will remain available to the court and law enforcement agencies. The eligible offenses include:

  • First-time felony drug offenses, excluding methamphetamine offenses (HRS 706–622.5)
  • First-time Class C felony property offenses (HRS 706–622.9)
  • First-time drug offenses before 2004 (HRS 706–622.8)

All other felony offenses may not be expunged. The process of expungement takes 120 days, after which applicants will receive their expungement certificate.

Persons with no prior felony convictions may defer acceptance of a guilty plea or acceptance of nolo contendere (no contest) plea. This option becomes available if the defendant is charged with a crime eligible for probation and the court decides that the defendant is not likely to engage in criminal activity. Also if the justice or the good of society does not require the defendant to suffer the consequences imposed by law. In this case, the defendant will be placed on probation for no longer than the term of their sentence. If they successfully complete probation, the case will be dismissed and the defendant will not be charged. Persons whose cases have been thus dismissed may apply for an expungement one year after the date of dismissal (HRS 853–1)..

Offenses not eligible for the deferred act include:

  • Class A felonies
  • Felony crimes that involve reckless, serious, intentional bodily injury to another person
  • Conspiracy or solicitation to kill
  • All other felony crimes except otherwise provided by statutes
  • Misdemeanor crimes with minimum sentences
  • Offenses ineligible for probation
  • Falsifying a report
  • Prostitution
  • Jury tampering
  • Bribery

Other ineligible offenses are listed in HRS 853–4

Is expungement the same as sealing court records in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, expungement does not remove or automatically seal court records. An expungement removes arrest information from state criminal history databases. However, expunged records may still appear in court records and be available to the public on request. To protect criminal history records from public access, defendants must file a petition for a court order to seal the records. Persons whose records have been expunged will be treated as though they were never arrested.

How Long Does a Felony Stay on Your Record in Hawaii?

Felony records will stay indefinitely on a person’s criminal history record unless they are expunged or sealed. In addition to prison terms and fines, felony convictions have other consequences such as the loss of civil and firearm rights. Persons convicted of felony crimes are not allowed to vote while they are incarcerated. They cannot hold public offices, serve on a jury, or own firearms. Some of the rights, such as voting rights and the right to hold public office may be restored upon completion of the sentence. The restoration of other rights may require a pardon or an expungement of records.

What is a Misdemeanor in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, misdemeanors are criminal offenses less serious than felonies. Offenses designated as misdemeanors are punishable by prison terms of no more than one year in county jail and fines of up to $2000. Misdemeanors are classified as misdemeanors and petty misdemeanors (HRS 701–107, 706–640)..

  • Misdemeanors: offenses designated as misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in county jail, fines of up to $2000, or both imprisonment and fines. False advertising is a misdemeanor in Hawaii. (HRS 708–871). Any offense designated a crime by state statutes without specification of the grade or sentence is a misdemeanor.
  • Petty misdemeanors: offenses designated as petty misdemeanors are punishable by no more than 30 days in county jail, fines of up to $1000, or both imprisonment and fines. Criminal littering is a petty misdemeanor in Hawaii. (HRS 708–829)

What are some examples of Misdemeanors in Hawaii?

Some examples of misdemeanors in Hawaii include:


  • Third-degree assault
  • Second-degree reckless endangering
  • Second-degree terroristic threatening
  • Aggravated criminal property damage
  • Second-degree interference with custody
  • Shoplifting
  • Theft of beer keg
  • Failure to return a rental car
  • Unlawful possession
  • First-degree criminal trespass

Petty misdemeanors:

  • Indecent exposure
  • Solid waste pollution
  • Excessive speeding
  • Obstructing
  • Harassment
  • False swearing
  • Failure to obey a summons
  • Open lewdness
  • Criminal use of a noxious substance
  • Refusing to aid law enforcement officer

Can I Get a Misdemeanor Removed from a Record in Hawaii?

As provided by HRS 706–622.5, records of some misdemeanors are eligible to be expunged. Also, persons who voluntarily plead guilty or no contest to a misdemeanor may be eligible to have their sentence deferred (HRS 853–1).. This means that their sentencing will be put on hold and they will be placed on probation by the court if:

  • The court determines that they are unlikely to commit a crime
  • It is not required for public welfare or justice that the defendant suffer the penalties applicable by law

Upon successful condition of the probation program, the charges against them will be dismissed and they will not be convicted. Such persons may apply to have their records expunged one year from the date the case was dismissed. The deferral act will not apply if:

  • The offense involves the killing of or bodily injury to another person
  • The offense is a misdemeanor for which the law specifies a minimum sentence
  • The offense is not eligible for probation.

Other offenses that are not eligible for expungement or deferral are listed in (HRS 853–4)..

Can an OVUII Be Expunged in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, the offense of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant may not be expunged except:

  • The offender was under the age of 20 at the time of the offense
  • Charges against the person were dismissed
  • The offense as a first-time offense
  • Charges against the person were dismissed after completion of probation

Under these conditions, there can be only one dismissal and expungement for any person (HRS 712–1255, 1256)

What constitutes a Violation in Hawaii?

A violation is not considered a crime in Hawaii. Violations are offenses punishable only by fines, forfeiture, or other types of civil penalties. They are not punishable by imprisonment. If a person is convicted of a violation, it cannot result in the loss of any civil rights or any other civil disability that would be otherwise applied to a criminal offense. (HRS 701–107).. Violations include offenses such as minor traffic violations and violations of municipal statutes. They are punishable by fines of up to $1000.

What are some examples of Violations in Hawaii?

Some examples of violations in Hawaii include:

  • Simple trespass
  • Modifying a moped motor
  • Operating a phone while driving
  • Failure to use a seatbelt
  • Violating child passenger restraint statutes
  • Standing in the bed of a pickup truck
  • Following too closely except in funeral processions
  • Driving through a safety zone
  • Noncompliance with the speed limit
  • Sudden acceleration on the highway
  • Parking on sidewalks
  • Coasting
  • Littering from vehicles
  • Noncompliance with stopping, parking, or standing requirements

Can Violations be Expunged from a Hawaii Criminal Court Record?

Violations are not considered crimes in Hawaii. However, records of arrests, summons, tickets, and traffic infractions may be held by the arresting agency. Non-conviction records may be expunged as provided by HRS 831–3.2. Persons whose records have been expunged will be treated as if they were never arrested and may request a return of all fingerprints and photographs taken in the course of the arrest.

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