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Hawaii DUI Court Process



The following information contained in this section explains the process that will occur in the criminal aspect of a Hawaii DUI case. A separate and additional civil administrative case will be filed as well. For more information on the civil administrative process, click on the Hawaii Driving tab.

ARRAIGNMENT

The first court appearance following a DUI arrest in Hawaii is called the arraignment. At this hearing, you will appear before the court and the judge will inform you of the charges that have been filed against you. You will be asked to enter a plea. If you enter a guilty plea at the arraignment, the judge will impose a sentence. If you plea not guilty, your case will be set for trial.

PRELIMINARY HEARING

A preliminary hearing is an opportunity to go before the judge and update him/her on the status of your case. At this hearing, issues with discovery and scheduling may be dealt with. A pretrial conference may take place where you or your attorney may attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor.

MOTION HEARINGS

Defense attorneys who wish to challenge issues such as the admissibility of evidence may file a motion prior trial. A hearing will take place. Testimony may be heard from experts and your attorney may cross examine the police involved in your case. If successful at a suppression motion hearing, the evidence at issue will not be admissible at trial.

TRIAL

There is no right to a jury trial for Hawaii DUI offenders unless they are charged with Habitual DUI. Instead, a bench trial will take place. In a bench trail, the judge plays the role of both judge and jury. Hawaii’s speedy trial law, the State is required to bring you to trial within 6 months of arrest. The prosecution bears the burden of proving all elements of your DUI charge beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney will have the opportunity to cross examine the police officers that were involved in your case, and will have the option of calling expert witnesses to testify as well. Once the final decision in the trial is reached, a verdict will be returned. If found guilty, the case will proceed to sentencing. Not guilty verdicts will result in the dismissal of all charges. DUI offenders that are found guilty may file an appeal to higher courts for review.

If you have been charged with DUI in Hawaii, consult with an experienced attorney in your area for more information on the DUI process and what to expect in your case.

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