Misdemeanor Charges in Hawaii

Honolulu Criminal Defense Attorney

Misdemeanors are crimes typically punishable by no more than one year in jail. Fines, probation and/or community service may be added as punishment. There can be collateral consequences such as driver's license revocation or professional license interference.

There can be full or petty misdemeanors, but both are still considered criminal convictions. While misdemeanors are considered less serious than felonies, they still can have a negative effect on a person's life when, for instance, an employer or landlord runs a background check.

My Hawaii law firm, The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady, LLC, provides cutting-edge defense for individuals throughout Honolulu who are faced with all types of misdemeanors. If you want to work with a Honolulu criminal defense lawyer who has more than 25 years of legal experience, pick up the phone and call my office right away!

If you are facing misdemeanor charges, schedule a case review with an experienced Honolulu attorney today!

Types of Misdemeanor Charges

The type of penalty given for a misdemeanor conviction depends on the misdemeanor classification. Certain misdemeanors are more serious than others. 

For example, an assault offense will typically result in harsher penalties than disorderly conduct. There are, however, a number of other factors that can impact the severity of the penalties, such as the defendant's criminal history, or the defendant's ability to secure probation.

A few examples of common misdemeanor crimes include:

  • Disorderly conduct
  • Vandalism
  • Shoplifting
  • DUI
  • Reckless driving
  • Drug possession
  • Prostitution
  • Open alcohol containers
  • Staying in a park at night
  • Assault
  • Abuse of a family or household member
  • Terroristic threatening

What Are the Punishments for Misdemeanors in Hawaii?

A person who is convicted of a misdemeanor will usually face penalties such as fines, probation, and / or jail time. Prison time will usually not be a possible penalty, as this punishment is typically reserved for felony convictions.

Some lower level misdemeanors are classified as petty misdemeanors, and have lower punishments:

What Is a Petty Misdemeanor?

Examples of a petty misdemeanor includes: 

  • Disorderly conduct
  • DUI
  • Theft
  • Harassment
  • Driving without a license

The penalties for petty misdemeanor consist of:

  • Up to 30 days in jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000

What Is a Misdemeanor?

Examples of a (Regular) Misdemeanor includes:

  • Drug possession
  • And assault

The penalties for a misdemeanor consist of:

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • A fine of up to $2,000

What Are the Effects of a Misdemeanor on Your Record?

Misdemeanor charges oftentimes have names that amplify the severity of the alleged crime. 

Even though the facts of your case might bring to your mind names such as disorderly conduct, profane language, unlawful or unwanted touching, or a verbal marital argument, you could be facing charges that go by the names of:

  • Terroristic threatening
  • Assault
  • Abuse of a family or household member
  • Or domestic violence assault

If you don't have an experienced attorney on your side, you run a greater risk of having these types of stigmatizing criminal convictions on your record.

Misdemeanors as Priors

You should keep in mind that prosecutors, police officers, and future employers whom you come across in the future will not view your misdemeanor conviction as just a minor event, no matter what types of misunderstandings were involved in your case. 

They will simply see it as a criminal conviction and imagine all the worst possible facts for the names associated with the criminal charge. Prosecutors will hold it against you in any future cases, even if you are only in court for a speeding ticket. 

Legislators also consider this when naming the crimes and when they attach additional collateral penalties that might affect your professional license, driver's license, or ability to keep/bear arms or otherwise exercise your Second Amendment rights.

In fact, there is a federal law that specifically embraces only misdemeanor convictions of a particular character, domestic violence, broadly defined, to forever extinguish your Second Amendment constitutional and fundamental right to keep and bear arms in defense of yourself, your family, and your property.

Can Misdemeanor Charges Be Dropped?

Criminal charges can be dropped under certain grounds for dismissal. 

Some instances where charges could be dropped include:

  • If an illegal stop or search occurred
  • If there was a lack of probable cause for the arrest
  • If there is a lack of evidence for the prosecution to prove the crime was committed
  • If there was an improper criminal complaint
  • If there was no witness to prove that the crime occurred
  • If there is insufficient evidence to prove that the defendant is guilty

Contact My Hawaii Firm for Legal Counsel

Some misdemeanors cannot be expunged or set aside. Even if a crime is designated as a misdemeanor, hire an experienced attorney to protect your good name and future. 

Your concerns and your freedom are our number one priority when building the defense for your case. I am a former prosecutor and former law enforcement officer who knows how to properly navigate the criminal justice system!

Protect your future and your rights by putting 25+ years of experience on your side. Schedule a free legal consultation with our attorney to plan your defense! 


Common DUI Questions

  • What is considered to be a DUI in Hawaii?
    Like most other states, drivers found to be operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08% or higher will be arrested for DUI. In order to measure a driver's BAC, officers often subject drivers to breath tests, blood tests, or urine tests. In other instances, a police officer may ask a driver to participate in a field sobriety test. In Hawaii you can be charged with per se (BAC) and or with impairment (regardless of your BAC).
  • I was arrested for a DUI. When should I talk to a lawyer?
    Immediately. In the state of Hawaii, a police officer will issue an instantaneous driver's license revocation upon a DUI arrest. Your attorney can take steps to request and or preserve evidence early after your arrest and can also speak with witnesses or visit the scene close in time to your arrest. Your attorney will be able to represent you during this administrative hearing, as well as any type of criminal proceeding thereafter.
  • What will happen to my driver's license if I do not petition a license revocation?
    If you fail to take action and request a hearing in a timely manner, you could be jeopardizing your driving privileges. Upon arrest, an arresting officer will issue you a Notice of Administrative Revocation. This notice will serve as a temporary driving permit for 30 days. An in-person administrative hearing must take place within 24 days of receiving a Notice of Revocation. Failure to take action on a first-time DUI offense could result in a mandatory driver's license revocation for up to 1 year.
  • Is it required by law to take a breath or chemical test?
    You do have the right to refuse a breath or chemical test, however, you will also face possible penalties as a result of refusing a chemical test. Admittedly, chemical tests are prone to error and inaccuracy, however, it will be imperative that you listen to law enforcement officers. Refusal of a breath or chemical test could result in a license revocation for up to 2 years on a first-time offense.
  • What happens if I failed a field sobriety test?
    Do not assume that your case will rely solely on the results yielded during a field sobriety test! Even if you have failed a field sobriety test, these tests are not always accurate and often do not take in special circumstances of the person taking the test.

    For example, people with health issues, coordination issues, or sight issues may not perform in a way that would suggest sobriety. Additionally, other external factors, such as uneven roads, weather, stress, or improper administration by the police officer could lead to erroneous results.

Let's Fight Together

  • Charged with DUI or OVUII in Honolulu? Discover how we can fight for your freedom!
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  • Hear from my former clients. Although I focus on the facts and the ethics of a case, I also make it a point to take the time to get to know my clients.