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What happens to someone’s license after a Hawaii DUI arrest?

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2023 | Criminal Law

For teenagers, obtaining a driver’s license is often a rite of passage that marks their proximity to adulthood. For adults, having a driver’s license is often a basic requirement of everyday life. There are many employers who expect new hires to have their own transportation either to fulfill job responsibilities or reliably show up for their shifts. Those with families typically need their own vehicles to get their children to school and to handle medical needs for their loved ones.

Therefore, losing the legal right to drive oneself can be not just frustrating but potentially a source of hardship for someone’s entire family. One of the more common reasons that those who’ve obtained a driver’s license in Hawaii lose their driving privileges is that they end up convicted of a driving under the influence (DUI) offense.

Convictions lead to license challenges

In Hawaii, failing a breath test can lead to an administrative license suspension as soon as 30 days after someone’s initial arrest. Someone pleading guilty to or getting convicted of a DUI offense will also result in licensing consequences. The recent driving record of the individual will determine what penalties they face.

Someone facing their first DUI charge will probably lose their license for a year, and anyone with a prior DUI conviction from within the last 10 years could lose their driving privileges for much longer than that. A second DUI within 10 years of a prior conviction can lead to a driver’s license revocation that lasts between two and three years. A third DUI in a 10-year period will lead to the state classifying someone as a habitual offender, which means that will lose their license for between three and five years. Some drivers will qualify for employment-related licenses during their revocation period that allow them to drive to and from work.

How can someone protect their license?

Those accused of a DUI have two ways of preserving their driving privileges. The first involves defending against the criminal charges that they face. Those that avoid a conviction won’t have to worry about a sentence imposed by a judge. The second involves attending administrative hearings to avoid the automatic suspension of one’s license following a failed breath test or DUI arrest.

Those who understand the rules that apply after DUI charges will be in a better position to respond appropriately and to potentially guard against the worst possible consequences. Preserving driving privileges is often a main priority of those accused of impaired driving in Hawaii.