"I defend & help people facing OVUII (DUI) charges and License Revocations in the state of Hawaii."
- Robert D. Eheler, Jr.
Attorney at Law
All states and federal jurisdictions have laws that criminalize drunk driving. You might know this offense as DUI as it was and often still is referred to in Hawai‘i. However, persons from other places outside Hawai‘i might know it by a different term such as DWI for example. Today, an arrested person in Hawai‘i will be charged with violating H.R.S. § 291E-61, Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant or OVUII, usually after either submitting to and failing a breath or blood test or both or refusing to be tested, in the case of an alcohol related incident. Similarly, if the person is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs, the person will be charged with OVUII upon failing a blood or urine test or both or for refusing to be tested. Please note that this law applies to vessels so that you may be charged for OVUII if you’re operating a boat or jet ski. Persons should also be aware that one doesn’t necessarily have to be drunk to be charged with this offense. The law only requires that a person be “impaired” from the consumption of alcohol, drugs or combination thereof. And, regardless of whether you think you are impaired, or not, the law says that you are if your Breath Alcohol Content (BrAC) or Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is .080% or more.
The typical OVUII scenario is that you were stopped in your vehicle for weaving and/or other traffic offenses. An officer asks you to produce for inspection your driver's license, registration and no-fault card and upon smelling the odor of alcohol or burnt marijuana, for a drug example, asks you to step out of the vehicle to perform a series of field sobriety tests. If the officer decides to arrest you for suspicion of OVUII, you will then be transported to the police station to be read the IMPLIED CONSENT advisement. The Implied Consent law simply says that by driving, whether licensed or not, you have already agreed to submit to a breath, blood or urine test do determine your alcohol or drug content. Upon failing or refusing a breath test, submitting to a blood and/or urine test or refusing a blood and/or urine test, the license remains in the possession of the police department and the arresting officer then issues a Notice of Administrative Revocation (NOAR) and indicates thereon that it also serves as a 30 day Temporary Permit if you surrendered a valid license. In most cases, the officer will also provide a form entitled Request to Reconsider that facilitates your “Due Process” right to be heard as to why your license and privilege to drive should not be revoked. The issuance of the NOAR is the beginning of a “potential”Administrative Revocation Proceeding. Additionally at this time, you will either post bail, be released on your own recognizance, be released pending investigation (RPI’d) or be transported directly to court for arraignment. This is the beginning of a “potential”Criminal Proceeding.
The statutory scheme underlying the administrative and criminal proceedings is that they operate simultaneously, each with their own procedural rules and deadlines that must be followed. The outcome of one proceeding has no affect on the other proceeding’s outcome. DON’T CONFUSE THE TWO PROCEEDINGS. For these reasons alone, it is important to retain an attorney for representation. At this juncture, the police department forwards the paperwork to both the ADMINISTRATIVE DRIVERS LICENSE REVOCATION OFFICE (ADLRO) and the DEPARTMENT OF THE PROSECUTING ATTORNEY(Prosecutor’s Office) for review and screening respectively. You probably noticed I previously used the word “potential” for both the administrative and criminal proceedings. This is because the ADLRO could rescind the administrative proceeding upon initial review and/or the Prosecutor’s Office could decline to prosecute.
ROBERT D. EHELER, JR. Attorney at Law
Pauahi Tower at Bishop Square 1003 Bishop Street, Suite 2700 Honolulu, HI 96813 (808) 531-9957