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Hawaii Court Records

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What Are Traffic Violations And Infractions In Hawaii?

Traffic laws in Hawaii keep road users safe and give law enforcement authority to impose sanctions on individuals who commit traffic violations or infractions under the Hawaii Motor Vehicles Code. The Hawaii Division of Motor Vehicles is the government agency responsible for maintaining records of drivers’ violations and offenses within the state’s jurisdiction. These records are public information and available to public requesters. Likewise, hawaiicourtrecords.us is an independent repository for publicly available traffic records in the state.

What Are Felony & Misdemeanor Traffic Violations In Hawaii?

Hawaii regards felony traffic violations as offenses that put or cause serious injury to life and properties, regardless of the intention behind the act. Thus, felony traffic violations are prosecuted under the Hawaii criminal code with a minimum of 1 year in prison, hefty fines, or both. In 2006, Hawaii enacted a three-strike law that allows prosecutors to seek confinement of 30 years to life for a third conviction of a violent felony. Under §706–610, Hawaii classifies felony offenses viz:

  • Class A felonies - punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $50,000
  • Class B felonies - punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000
  • Class C felonies - punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000

Examples of Felony Traffic Violations in Hawaii

The following are examples of traffic violations that are considered felonies:

  • Vehicular homicide
  • DUI resulting in serious injury or death
  • Hit and run after injury or death
  • DUI after a previous conviction of felony DUI
  • Using a motor vehicle to commit a felony

What are Traffic Misdemeanors in Hawaii?

According to Hawaii State Judiciary, traffic misdemeanors are offenses punishable by a maximum jail time of 30 days, in case of a petty misdemeanor; or up to one year in jail misdemeanors. When compared, traffic misdemeanors are less severe than felonies but more serious than a traffic infraction, as reflected in their statutory punishments.

Examples of Traffic Misdemeanors in Hawaii

Per the Hawaii Traffic Laws, here are some examples of traffic misdemeanors:

  • Reckless driving
  • Driving without a license
  • First DUI with no injuries
  • Hit and run with damage to vehicle
  • Transporting a hazardous material with forged authorization
  • Driving with license suspended or revoked
  • Disrupting a funeral procession

Upon conviction of a criminal traffic violation, the court will place the offender’s driver’s license on probation. The probation period depends on the category of crime. Generally, the probation period is viz:

  • Class A felony - 10 years probation
  • Classes B & C felony - 5 years probation
  • Misdemeanors - 1-year probation
  • Petty misdemeanors - 6 months probation

What Constitutes a Traffic Infraction in Hawaii?

According to the Hawaii State Judiciary, a traffic infraction is a violation of a statute, ordinance, or rule relating to traffic movement and control within the state. In this case, the court does not penalize offenders with imprisonment. Instead, offenders have to pay monetary assessments, do community service, attend a mandatory driving class, or a combination of civil sanctions. Furthermore, as Hawaii does not use a point system to assess traffic violations, sanctions such as license suspension and revocation are at the court’s discretion.

Examples of Traffic Infractions in Hawaii

The threshold for offenses deemed as traffic infractions vary with jurisdiction in Hawaii. Some of the common infractions in Hawaii include:

  • Speeding
  • Running a stop sign
  • Driving without a seat belt
  • Having an expired safety check sticker
  • Texting while driving
  • Parking where prohibited

How Does a Traffic Ticket Work In Hawaii? 

Under §291C–165, an officer will issue a ticket to an offender if the violation does not warrant an arrest. This citation, also known as a traffic ticket, is an official notice that informs the driver of their offense and the applicable administrative remedy. A traffic ticket in Hawaii will contain the following information:

  • The traffic citation number
  • The name and address of the offender
  • The state registration number of the vehicle
  • Driver’s license number
  • The date of offense or issuance
  • The offense(s) charged

Drivers who receive traffic tickets in Hawaii must respond within 21 days. Generally, the erring driver has two options for resolving a ticket.

  • Pay the ticket: The offender must visit the local court in person during business hours. They may also pay the ticket online, by mail, or by phone at (800) 679–5949. The court may set up a payment plan for offenders who do not have the means to pay the full fine at once. If the driver chooses to pay the fines on the ticket, they inadvertently admit to wrongdoing and the infraction will be entered into their driving history.
  • Contest the ticket: Offenders who wish to contest their ticket may request a hearing or submit a written request to the court indicated on the ticket within 21 days. Offenders who commit a traffic infraction do not have a right to a jury trial. Instead, during the hearing or on the statement, the driver must present substantial proof of innocence or demonstrate reasonable cause for committing the infraction. If the driver is dissatisfied with the judgment, they may also appeal the judgment within 30 days. They can initiate this by filling the “request a trial” section of the notice of decision and judgment form.

There are service providers that offer to resolve traffic tickets on their client’s behalf. This service is often subscription-based and useful if the driver has multiple tickets in different jurisdictions.

Difference Between A Moving And Non-moving Violation In Hawaii

A moving violation is a non-criminal traffic violation relating to traffic movement and control of a motor vehicle. Examples of moving traffic infractions include speeding, running a red light, or crossing a solid line. A speeding ticket is one of the most common types of moving violations in Idaho.

Conversely, a non-moving violation refers to violations that involve equipment, vehicles, drivers, owners, or pedestrians, as well as other offenses not categorized as moving violations. A common non-moving violation is illegal parking, where the officer will affix the parking ticket to the vehicle.

How to Get a Traffic Ticket Dismissed In Hawaii

The individual must begin by requesting a hearing or submitting a written statement. They must do this within 21 days or the date due on the ticket. The court will schedule a hearing date where they must demonstrate innocence, good cause for the violation, or prejudice by the issuing officer. If acquitted, the judge may propose an alternative sanction such as community service or completing a traffic course. Also, the ticket will not be recorded against the individual’s driving record.

Are Driving Records Public In Hawaii?

Yes, the Hawaii Sunshine Law permits access to driving records that do not contain personal identifying information. However, the Federal Driver Privacy Act prevents the DMV from disclosing personal or sensitive information to a third party without the driver’s consent or court order.

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 the person resides in or was accused in. 

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

How To Find Driver History Records In Hawaii?

A driver’s history record contains information about license suspension, tickets, reported accidents, and traffic convictions. Requests for driving records are made in person or by mail at the District Court where the individual resides.

  • In-person requests: Requesters may obtain driver history records from the Clerk of District Court’s Office in the county where they reside. Requesters must provide their license number at the time of request and pay the fee of $9.00 by check or money order.
  • Mail requests: For mail requests, the requester must complete a record request form. The requester must notarize the completed request form, or the court will decline the request. Then, they must attach a check or money order payable to the District Court for the applicable fees. Enclose the notarized form, copy of the license, and payment in a self-addressed stamped envelope. Send the request to the address of the District Court listed on the form.

Furthermore, individuals may request a traffic abstract, which contains all moving violations and convictions. This service costs $20.00 at the District Court. Alternatively, requesters may obtain a traffic court report, which is a case history for all parking citations. The court report also contains information found on the traffic abstract. The District Court will only honor in-person requests for traffic court reports. The document costs $1.00 for the first page and $0.50 for each additional page. For additional requests or inquiries, contact the Hawaii Department of Transportation on (808) 692–7656 or send an email to driverrecords.hwyv@Hawaii.gov.

Can Traffic Violations And Infractions Be Expunged/Sealed In Hawaii?

It depends. Generally, the court will grant a request to seal or expunge if the driver was acquitted, the charges were dismissed, or the conviction was overturned. The court will also weigh the offender’s request against the public’s right to access the record.

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