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Criminal Law in Hawaii

Wondering what a Hawaii criminal defense attorney can do for you? In a nutshell, a criminal defense lawyer:

  • Understands and deals with the criminal charges against you,
  • Negotiates with prosecutors,
  • Communicates with the judge and jury, and
  • Puts forward a strong and strategic defense.

It’s imperative that you consult with a Hawaii criminal defense attorney if you or a loved one has been arrested for a crime in Hawaii.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • Hawaii criminal laws;
  • What you need to know about criminal defense in Hawaii; and
  • How to work with your Hawaii criminal defense attorney.

Hawaii Criminal Laws

Hawaii criminal laws are found in the HawaiiCriminal Code; it’s Title 37 of the Hawaii Statutes. You can connect to this link to find out more. Ask your criminal defense attorney to explain the crime you are being charged with.

Examples of Hawaiian crimes include credit card offenses, burglary and trespass, gambling, defrauding a public utility, forgery, theft and robbery, assault, insurance fraud, disorderly conduct, money laundering, child neglect and abuse, and extortion.

Statute of Limitations
Criminal charges must be brought within a certain period of time or be forever barred. This means if too many years have passed, you may be “off the hook” even if you committed a crime. However, more serious crimes have longer, even unlimited, statute of limitations.

For example, in Hawaii, the statute of limitations for:

  • Theft is 1, 2, or 3 years, depending on the facts of the case (Haw. Rev. Code Ann. В§ 701-108(d) or (e) or (f)).
  • Disorderly Conduct is 1 year (Haw. Rev. Code Ann. В§ 701-108(2)(f)).
  • Assault is 1, 2, or 3 years, depending on the facts of the case (Haw. Rev. Code Ann. В§ 701-108(d) or (e) or (f)).

Ask your criminal defense lawyer if the statute of limitations may be a complete defense in your particular case.

Hawaii is another state facing skyrocketing prison system costs; so, sentencing guideline reforms are under consideration (2012). This will likely be good news to anyone convicted of a non-violent crime, specifically minor drug offenses.

Hawaii classifies its crimes as felonies, misdemeanors, and offenses.

  • Felonies are crimes that are punishable with fines and more than a year in jail. The more serious the felony, the stronger the punishment; however, Hawaii does not have the death penalty.

  • A misdemeanor is a crime that is punishable by one year or less in jail. Fines are common.

  • An offense is not punishable with jail time. Fines are common as is the loss of driving privileges for drunk driving convictions.

An experienced Hawaii criminal defense attorney will let you know the potential criminal sentence in your case.

What You Need to Know About Criminal Defense

Your life, liberty, and money may be at risk. Being arrested will affect your job, family, friends, and financial life. You may lose your job and have trouble renting an apartment or home in the future.

Why are well making this point? To encourage you to get help.

In general, this is what you need to know about criminal defense.

  • Attorneys are not all the same. You need a criminal defense lawyer.
  • You need to hire an attorney even if you are innocent.
  • What you say to your attorney is confidential. You need to be completely honest and open with your attorney.
  • What you say can and will be used against you. Do not make a statement to police, other than to ask for an attorney.

How to Work with a Hawaii Criminal Defense Lawyer

Your defense depends upon your cooperation and good sense.

  • You’re paying for legal advice. Take it. Your attorney knows better than you do.
  • Even if you think something will make you look bad, disclose it– but only to your attorney.
  • Return your lawyer’s phone calls promptly.
  • Provide all requested information in a timely manner.
  • If your phone number or address changes, update your attorney immediately.
  • Your attorney may ask you hard questions or make you angry. This is normal and okay.
  • Your attorney will likely be polite and cooperative with police officers, alleged victims, witnesses, investigators, and the prosecutor. This is also normal and okay.

To find a Hawaii criminal defense attorney search our site,, or ask loved ones or the bar association for a referral. Your next step is to contact a defense lawyer now.

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