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DUI (OVII) Legal Process in Hawaii


An arraignment is the first appearance the offender has in court. Upon the initial appearance, the court will read the accused of the charges, inform the accused that there is no requirement to make a statement and that any statement made may be used against them, advise the accused the right to counsel, allow the defendant reasonable time and opportunity to consult with a lawyer and admit the defendant to bail. The accused can also request for materials involving the OVII, such as the blood or chemical tests. All requests should be made in writing and list the specific materials being sought. If you enter a plea of guilty, the judge will sentence you. If you enter a plea of not-guilty, the judge will set a court date.

Preliminary Hearing:

In a preliminary hearing, the accused can go before the judge and update them on the status of the case. At the hearing, a conference can be made to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor. The judge will also determine if there is enough evidence to go forward with a trial.

Motion Hearing:

Motions made before trial to challenge evidence or file a motion for dismissal. Testimony may be heard from experts and the accused attorney may cross examine the police involved in the case. If there is a suppression motion hearing to suppress evidence obtained, the evidence will not be admissible at trial. A motion hearing may also be available if the prosecution is not handing over evidence against you.


There is no right to a jury trial for a operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant in Hawaii except if you are charged with a habitual DUI. Instead of a jury trial, a bench trial will take place. The judge will be both the judge and the jury. Hawaii has a speedy trial law and is required to bring a trial within 6 months of the initial arrest. The prosecution has the burden of proving all the elements of the DUI charges beyond a reasonable doubt. During the trial, the defendant’s attorney can cross-examine any arresting police officers and witnesses. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge will return a verdict. If the judge finds that the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt had a blood alcohol level of above .08% and was operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, the judge will issue a sentence. If the judge finds the prosecution did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, the judge will find the defendant not guilty and there will be a dismissal of all charges. If you are found guilty, you can appeal to a higher court for review.

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