"I defend & help people facing OVUII (DUI) charges and License Revocations in the state of Hawaii."
- Robert D. Eheler, Jr.
Attorney at Law
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT DUI
Should I speak with an attorney before I submit the "Request for Reconsideration" form the police officer gave me?
Yes. What you state on that Request for Reconsideration can have a negative impact in the administrative proceeding. At the conclusion of one of my first administrative hearings back in 1993 I was faced with this situation. The hearing officer closed the file and stated to me that this was a close case. I replied that in that case she should resolve the matter in favor of my client as the government should have the burden of making its case. The hearing officer then opened the file again and came to the request for reconsideration that my client had filled out prior to hiring an attorney. In his request, he confessed that he had too much to drink, shouldn’t have been driving, that he had learned his lesson and that he would never do it again. The hearing officer once again closed the file, looked at me and said that she thinks she has enough to make a decision now. The hearing officer timely mailed her decision revoking my client’s driver’s license.
Should I request an Administrative Hearing?
Yes, and for two (2) reasons in particular. First, the only means available to you of getting your drivers license back is through an administrative proceeding. Once a review officer determines that your driver’s license and privilege to drive are going to be revoked, they remain revoked unless you prevail at an administrative hearing resulting in the revocation proceeding being rescinded. Second, at the administrative hearing you and/or your attorney have the opportunity to question the officers involved and assess what kind of witnesses they will be at the criminal proceeding.
When I was arrested, I received a Notice of Administrative License Revocation that also serves as a 30 day permit to drive. What happens if I get caught driving after thirty days?
If you get caught driving after your 30 day temporary permit expires, you will be cited for driving on revoked license after your license was revoked for OVUII in violation of H.R.S. § 291E-62. This is a very serious offense with serious consequences including mandatory jail and an additional minimum one (1) year license revocation.
I was stopped and arrested at a roadblock. Do I have any defense to this?
Roadblocks are controversial and illegal in many states. Although legal in Hawai‘i, it can be argued that the roadblocks are being administered in an unconstitutional manner and your attorney can assist you in filing a motion to suppress with the Court.
The Hawai‘i Supreme Court has said that revoking a license and privilege to drive is merely a “remedial measure”, i.e. it is not punishment. The purpose of the administrative proceeding is to immediately remove drunk drivers from the road, get them assessed for alcohol and/or drug dependency, abuse or both and get them into treatment. In fact, if a person whose license is revoked fails to get an assessment for the need of possible treatment, that person’s traffic abstract will reflect a license stopper in place. will have license stopper placed in However, for due process considerations, the most immediate time in which a driver can be prohibited from driving is 30 days, thus the 30 day temporary permit.
What are the consequences to me regarding my car insurance? Do I have to file an SR-22 with the Department of Financial Responsibility?
Undoubtedly, if you are convicted of OVUII and/or your license is administratively revoked, your car insurance premium will increase. First offenders, as long as they are not involved in an accident in which they were the at-fault driver, will not have to file an SR-22. Multiple offenders can expect to have to file and SR-22.
How do my prior in-state and/or out-of-state DUI/OVUII convictions and revocations affect my current case?
There is a possible negative potential to you if you have suffered an administrative revocation or conviction in another state or federal jurisdiction under a similar statute to Hawai‘i’s OVUII statute. Administrative revocations and convictions that did not originate from the same criminal episode can be considered prior alcohol or drug enforcement contacts and cause a longer revocation period being imposed. In the criminal context, only out-of-state convictions can be considered for potential enhanced sentencing.
The police officer read a complicated form I didn't understand regarding my choice of a breath or blood test, didn't or couldn’t answer my questions, accused me of stalling and then said I refused. What are the consequences now?
Refusing to submit to testing will double the revocation period to be imposed. Once the review decision is rendered, the only possible way to defend against the refusal is to request an administrative hearing. You should immediately seek the assistance of an experienced attorney.
If I get convicted, will I have a felony record?
In most cases no. In Hawai‘i, you don’t reach felony status until you get charged with an OVUII offense and have three (3) prior convictions within the previous ten (10) years. In that case, the OVUII charge is a Class C felony under the penal code with the potential of you being sentenced to up to five (5) years in prison and/or up to a $10,000.00 fine. Otherwise, the charge would be considered a petty misdemeanor.
I was visiting Hawai‘i or I am moving out-of -state, what do I do now?
That is a tough choice if your intent is to fight your case. In order to fight your case, you must be present in the courtroom. This requires traveling back and forth, sometimes multiple times because the State will request a continuance because officers are unavailable to testify for a myriad of reasons, none of which you will know about until the day of trial. However, Rule 43 of the Hawai‘i Rules of Penal Procedure provides a mechanism for people in your situation that want to take responsibility and plead guilty or no contest to the OVUII charge obviating the need to return to Hawai‘i. This rule only applies to a petty misdemeanor OVUII, not a felony OVUII.
ROBERT D. EHELER, JR. Attorney at Law
Pauahi Tower at Bishop Square 1003 Bishop Street, Suite 2700 Honolulu, HI 96813 (808) 531-9957