Hawaii Drugged Driving

In Hawaii, a person is guilty of DUI if the person operates any vehicle while under the influence of any drug which impairs such person’s ability to operate the vehicle in a careful and prudent manner. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 291E-61(a)(2) (LexisNexis 2010)(effective January 1, 2011).

Implied Consent

  • Any person who operates a vehicle upon a public way, street, road, or highway or on or in the waters of the State shall be deemed to have given consent, subject to this part, to a test or tests approved by the director of health of the person’s breath, blood, or urine for the purpose of determining alcohol concentration or drug content of the person’s breath, blood, or urine, as applicable. Id. § 291E-11.
  • If a person under arrest for operating a vehicle while impaired refuses to submit to a breath or blood test, none shall be given. Id. § 291E-65(a).
  • For a first refusal, offender will have license suspended a period of twelve months; for any subsequent suspension under this section, for a period not less than two years and not more than five years. Id. § 291E-65 (c)(1)-(2).
  • If a legally arrested person refuses to submit to a test of the person’s breath, blood, or urine, evidence of refusal shall be admissible only in a proceeding to revoke operator’s license for refusal and shall not be admissible in any other action or proceeding, whether civil or criminal. Id.§ 291E-16.


NOTE: A person committing the offense of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant shall be sentenced without possibility of probation or suspension of sentence. Id. § 291E-61(b).

  • First offense – license suspension of 1 year; 48 hours to 5 days in jail, fine of between $150 to $1,000 (possible 72 hours of community service in lieu of fine or jail); 14 hour minimum substance abuse program; license will be suspended for 1 year. Id. § 291E-61(b)(1).
  • Second offense (w/i 5 years) – license suspension for a minimum of 18 months up to 2 years; fine ranging from $500 to $1,500; either 240 hours of community service, or five days but not more than thirty days of imprisonment (of which at least forty-eight hours shall be served consecutively); required completion of a minimum 14 hour of a substance abuse program. Id. § 291E-61(b)(2).
  • Third offense – license suspension for two years; fine from $500 to $2500; from a minimum of 10 days to 30 days in jail; vehicle of the offender may be forfeited to the state. Id. § 291E-61(b)(3).
  • Fourth and subsequent offense Class “C” Felony – possible 5 years in prison; probation for 5 years with a mandatory revocation of license for no less than 1 year; minimum of 10 days in jail; required substance abuse counseling; mandatory driver education program. Id. § 291E-61.5(a)-(h).

Other Penalties & Penalty Enhancers

  • Any person over eighteen years of age who is convicted of DUI with a passenger younger than fifteen years of age shall be sentenced to an additional mandatory fine of $500 and an additional mandatory term of imprisonment of forty-eight hours. Id. § 291E-61(b)(4).

Sobriety Checkpoints

In Hawaii, sobriety checkpoints are authorized by state statute.

  • Officers must require that (1) all vehicles approaching roadblocks be stopped; or (2) that certain vehicles be stopped by selecting vehicles in a specified numerical sequence or pattern. Id. § 291E-20(1).
  • All roadblocks shall be located at fixed locations for a maximum three-hour period and proper illumination is required. Id. § 291E-20(2), (3)(A). The officers must be uniformed and carrying proper identification. Id. § 291E-20(3)(C).
  • Law enforcement officers conducting sobriety checkpoints are not authorized to pursue and detain drivers of motor vehicles appearing to avoid the sobriety checkpoints in a lawful manner. State v. Heapy, 151 P.3d 764(Hawaii, 2007). Permitting officers to do so is beyond the lawful scope of the statutory procedures and, therefore, more intrusive than the standards and guidelines outlined in statutes. Id.

Case Law

State v. Kuba, 706 P.2d 1305 (1985) — Roadside questioning after defendant was observed traveling low rate of speed and straddling lanes (during which defendant admitted drinking four beers as well as smoking marijuana) did not rise to level of requiring Miranda warnings. Furthermore, evidence presented before grand jury that defendant was unsteady on his feet, that he admitted he had smoked marijuana, that he had no alcohol in his blood, was sufficient to convince a reasonable person that defendant’s intoxication was the result of taking drugs.

State v. Davia, 953 P.2d 1347 (1998) — Bicycle is a “vehicle” within meaning of DUI statute.