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Hawaii Court Records

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What Do You Do if You Are On Trial For a Crime in Hawaii?

When charged for a crime in Hawaii, the alleged offender is advised to hire an attorney who will explain the case’s facts to the presiding judge, prepare paperwork or evidence to support the litigation, and prove the accused’s innocence. Failure to appear in court might lead to a default judgment.

According to the procedures of the Hawaii State Judiciary, the defendant is first arraigned and briefed about their criminal charges, after which they are allowed to make a plea bargain. If the accused is in police custody during the arraignment and plea, the attorney can request bail, and the court will decide to set a bail hearing. At the A&P hearing, accusers can plead guilty and be sentenced to jail, required to pay some fines or both. They can also plead not guilty and request a trial. If the supposed violator is not granted bail or cannot pay, the individual will remain in jail while the A&P hearing will occur at the next court date.

What Percentage of Criminal Cases Go to Trial in Hawaii?

The 2019 Hawaii Judiciary Annual Report Statistical Supplement prepared by the Hawaii State Judiciary gives details about cases filed and handled within the state. Between 2018 to 2019, there were 4,315 criminal cases filed, and 2095 lawsuits proceeded to trial. On the whole, only 51.4% of crimes committed advanced in the court.

When Does a Criminal Defendant Have the Right to a Trial?

According to the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution, all criminal defendants have the right to a quick and speedy trial by an impartial jury. Essentially, after an arrest, the court must schedule a trial date immediately to try the defendant in a trial court.

All criminal defendants are also advised of the right to testify by the trial court, following Section 14 79 H. 226, 900 P.2d 1293, to protect the right to testify under the Hawaii Constitution. The defendant must put into writing a waiver for the right to a jury trial in every case.

What are the Stages of a Criminal Trial in Hawaii?

Following Hawaii’s Rules of Penal Procedure, cases other than felonies follow the process below;

  • Arraignment
  • Plea
  • Jury trial election
  • Trial
  • Sentence

On the other hand, Felony trials follow these stages;

  • Initial appearance; This is when the defendant knows the charges.
  • Waiver of the preliminary hearing; The defendant can openly waive the preliminary hearing upon writing a statement to show the accused person knows constitutional rights.
  • Time for preliminary hearing; If the alleged offender does not waive hearing proceeds.
  • Evidence; The prosecution and the defendant will present evidence and witnesses for cross-examination.
  • Continuance
  • Disposition; After a thorough checking of the evidence, the court will allow the defendant to speak. The accused may have to answer at the circuit court.
  • Time for commitment to circuit court
  • Bail; The court may decide to grant bail.

How Long Does it Take For a Case to Go to Trial in Hawaii?

According to Rule 48 of Hawaii Rules of Penal Procedure, a case must go to trial within six months after an arrest. If six months elapses and there is no court proceeding, the court can dismiss the case. However, this rule only applies to crimes punishable by imprisonment.

What Happens When a Court Case Goes to Trial in Hawaii?

When a court case goes to trial in Hawaii, the court informs the offender of the right to a jury trial in the circuit court and the district court. However, the defendant can decide to have court proceedings without a jury.

Per Rule 11, an alleged offender can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. No contest plea is only accepted upon consideration by the court after considering public interest and parties involved in the case. Unless the suspect waives the right of trial by jury in writing, the defendant will have judicial proceedings by a jury in the circuit court. Nevertheless, if the accused pleads not guilty and waives the right to trial by jury, the district court will host the legal action. A sentence will be issued by a judge when the litigant is found guilty after the plea and trial.

Can You Be Put on Trial Twice for the Same Crime in Hawaii?

No. A defendant cannot be charged twice for the same crime after the individual has been acquitted or convicted in the State of Hawaii. Following the Fifth Amendment, there is constitutional protection for defendants against double jeopardy to prevent repeating charges. However, it is possible for an accused to be charged twice in different states for one crime. Additionally, if the crime committed was a federal crime, there could be federal and state convictions. This instance is called the Dual Sovereignty Doctrine.

How Do I Lookup a Criminal Court Case in Hawaii?

Interested persons may find Hawaii criminal court case information by checking third-party sites or sending a request to the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center, which is in charge of the state’s criminal history record information system. In the application, requestors must include information about the offender like name, date of birth, and social security number (optional). For every record checked by the Criminal History Record Checks (CHRC) unit, the applicant is charged a $30 fee. Applicants are required to pay by cashier’s check or money order, made payable to the “State of Hawaii.” Requestors will receive the requested record(s) within seven to ten days of the request. Below is the mailing address of the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center (HCJDC):

Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center

Attn: CHRC Unit

465 S. King Street, Room 102

Honolulu, HI 96813

Also, parties can obtain criminal case files from the courthouse, which heard the case.

How to Access Electronic Court Records in Hawaii

According to the Hawaii Uniform Information Practices Act, all government information and every record collated must be available to the public, including court records. For instant access to criminal court case information in the state of Hawaii, interested persons can use the online portals created by the Hawaii State Judiciary for a fee. However, requestors cannot obtain sealed or expunged records in Hawaii through the electronic repository.

How Do I Remove Public Court Records in Hawaii?

To seal a record, the alleged offender must first procure a proficient and skilled attorney to address how the expungement can affect the offender’s future. Additionally, it is advisable to have a copy of the case file before requesting sealing. However, in Hawaii, expungement is free. Interested persons can seal court records by following the stages below;

  • Compose a letter and address it to the court that filed the case for an expungement. The request must include full name, phone number, current home address, mailing address, and a copy of the Expungement Certificate.
  • Deliver the letter in person, or mail the application to the court.

If the judge grants the request, the offender will receive a sealing order via mail. The accused can also search on the electronic database to check if the document is still available for the public to access. It takes 120 days to expunge a record in Hawaii.

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