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Hawaii Court Records

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How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Hawaii

In the State of Hawaii, traffic cases commence when a law enforcement officer issues a traffic ticket to a motorist or pedestrian for committing a traffic offense. According to the provisions Hawaii State Judiciary traffic offenses involving the violation of statutes or road-traffic rules must be penalized by a citation. The alleged offender must then respond to the ticket’s allegations by paying the traffic ticket or contesting it in the state traffic court, the district court in the town or county where the infraction occurred.

In addition to expensive traffic fines, traffic tickets could affect a driver’s record and credibility. Many states in the United States use the ticket driver’s license points system to penalize reckless drivers, but Hawaii does not. Instead, the state maintains a detailed record of every driver’s history through the Department of Transportation. These records can be used to weigh penalties such as fines, and insurance rates, such that repeat offenses may carry stiffer penalties.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for 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 the 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.

Is it Worth it To Fight a Traffic Ticket in Hawaii?

Fighting a ticket is effectively translates to “not guilty” to a traffic violation allegation. Although traffic violations are not criminal charges, they have a wide range of consequences that may vary depending on the offense’s severity. Typically, traffic tickets require the traffic offender to pay fines, but they also reflect on the driver’s traffic record. Coping with a traffic ticket’s repercussions may be difficult for drivers, mainly due to their long-term effects.

Essentially, fighting a traffic ticket is a worthy cause, provided the driver confirms that there is a sound case and a high probability of winning it. Consulting a traffic attorney before proceeding is recommended for a more informed decision.

Ways to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Hawaii

Compared to other states, Hawaii has few options for responding to traffic tickets. There are two primary options to respond to a traffic ticket in Hawaii:

  • Admitting guilt and paying the ticket.
  • Contesting the ticket or denying the citation.

A driver in Hawaii may fight a traffic ticket by denying the citation. To do this, the individual must use the pre-printed envelope that usually accompanies the ticket. In this envelope, the driver will include a written statement or request a trial. The statement is a way for a ticketed individual to appeal to the court that they did not break the law. It must be brief and straight to the point. The report should include details or circumstances surrounding the ticket issued in error and possibly, photos and other available evidence. It is essential to note that making a false claim is a crime punishable by law in Hawaii.

The statement must be sent to the court within 21 days of receiving the traffic ticket. Failure to do so may result in being found guilty by default. In response, the judge will decide the case, and the court will send the decision via mail. If the individual disagrees with the court’s ruling, a new trial to appeal the decision may be requested within 30 days. Hence, the respondent may fight the ticket in front of a jury or a judge.

Also, an individual may still decide to avoid sending a written statement altogether and request an in-court hearing by filling in the appropriate parts of the ticket, mailing it to the appropriate court, and attending the hearing on the court-stipulated date. At the hearing, the respondent can explain the circumstances surrounding the ticket before the judge decides the verdict based on the presented evidence, testimonies, and officer’s notes.

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket Without Going to Court

Hawaii traffic tickets are often contested out of court. The cited road user may argue the case by sending the court a written statement containing the information and evidence that the ticket was issued incorrectly. This statement and the court’s response are sent via mail without requiring a court session. However, a court session may become necessary if the individual chooses to appeal the court’s decision or if the person does not want to send a written statement.

How do You Get a Traffic Ticket Reduced in Hawaii

Cited individuals can request mitigation in Hawaii to have their traffic tickets reduced. In this case, instead of contesting the ticket, the driver may request a mitigation hearing to negotiate the possibility of a fine reduction with the court or state prosecutor. When sending the written statement back to the court after receiving the ticket, the driver may give details of the intention, request the mitigation in writing, and provide convincing reasons why the court should consider leniency by reducing the ticket’s penalties. The decision to grant this request is of the court’s discretion. In response, the judge may deny the request, grant the request, or give the driver some time to pay the fine by creating a convenient payment plan. If the court rejected a penalty reduction request, the driver might contact the court to appeal the decision before a judge in a court hearing.

Can you Get a Speeding Ticket Dismissed in Hawaii?

Yes, a speeding ticket can be dismissed in Hawaii. Suppose an individual is able to prove to the court that the ticket was issued in error, with convincing evidence and testimonies to support the argument, the judge may rule in the driver’s favor. If the court rules that the ticket was indeed unfair after considering both sides’ evidence, the ticket will be dismissed, and the individual will be free from paying the traffic ticket fine.

If the court ruled otherwise, the respondent would be required to pay the initial ticket fine, pay additional court costs, and probably face additional penalties.

Also, if the driver is eligible for a driving course, it may help dismiss a ticket. The individual may need to contact the court to determine eligibility. Eligibility depends on the nature of the offense, the driver’s history, and the court’s discretion.

What Happens if You Plead Guilty to a Traffic Ticket in Hawaii

Any individual that pleads guilty to a traffic ticket in Hawaii must pay the ticket. The Hawaii Judiciary website provides multiple payment options, including paying via mail, online, over the phone, or in person.

To pay in person, The individual has to visit the district court in the county or town where the infraction occurred. All checks and money orders must be made payable to the District court.” The court also accepts debit and credit cards (MasterCard & VISA), but for mail payments, the court does not accept cash payments. Therefore, imprinted checks and money orders made payable to the court can be sent via mail using the pre-printed envelope provided with the ticket. Phone payments require the payer to prepare a citation number, license plate number, and credit card.

NB: Phone and mail payments are only available within 21 days of getting the ticket.

Unlike many states in the United States, the Hawaii state legislature does not use a cumulative point system, therefore paying a traffic ticket does not add any points to a driver’s record. Regardless, the traffic offenses are recorded, and they show up on the driver’s history, which may be accessible to insurance providers and employers. This may cause more difficulties for the driver.

How to Find a Traffic Ticket Attorney in Hawaii

Traffic ticket attorneys are professionals in handling traffic cases. They give effective legal representation and help deal with fines, insurance, traffic abstract/driving records, and driver’s licenses. Any individual who happens to receive a traffic ticket or is facing any other related issues in Hawaii is advised to navigate the legal system with an attorney’s help. Citizens of Hawaii can obtain legal assistance for such issues through the Hawaii State Bar Association.

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