Although Hawaii is viewed as a place with an easy-going and fun vibe, the government is not lax when it comes to traffic laws. According to the state’s Department of Transportation, there are 120-150 fatalities occurring from traffic accidents every year, of which 37 car accidents were caused by speeding or reckless driving in 2015. To prevent such cases, there are laws put in place and penalties to discourage speeding.
Nobody wants to be pulled over by a cop and be issued a ticket for speeding. Even then, there may be times when you find yourself faced with a traffic citation and are confused about what to do next. Knowing the laws of the land and all your options can help you take the right course of action in such a situation. So here is what you need to know about speeding tickets in Hawaii:
Hawaii Speeding Laws
In Hawaii, the law explicitly states, “A person shall not drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent and having regard to the actual and potential hazards and conditions then existing.” (Per Hawaii § 291C-101 & 291C-198(a)).
Hawaii is known for having the lowest maximum speed limit in the country, and the state also follows the absolute speed limit law. There are different speed limits in Hawaii for various areas, and these include:
- School zones: 25 mph
- Freeways going through central Honolulu: 45 mph
- Other freeways: 55 mph
Does Hawaii follow a point system for traffic violations?
The state’s legislature scrapped the cumulative point system in Hawaii. However, no points on your driving record in Hawaii does not mean that your traffic offenses are not recorded at all. This does show up on your driving record abstract, which can also be accessed by insurance providers and potential employers—thus complicating matters for you later.
Every speeding ticket you get in Hawaii will appear on your record, and there are certain penalties associated with it. Similar to states that have the point system, traffic violations in Hawaii will have an impact on your automobile insurance as premiums (your monthly fees) can go up. In fact, the average driver in Hawaii sees his/her car insurance rise by approximately 6% a year after being handed a speeding ticket.
This does not mean that when you see flashing lights behind you, you should take off as if you are Dominic Toretto out of the Fast and Furious movies. That would certainly exacerbate things! You may not be able to drive after that type of decision at all. Remember as well, you are on an island, where are you going to go anyhow?
Speeding Ticket Penalties in Hawaii
If you have been pulled over for speeding in Hawaii, and you are a first-time violator, you may face:
- A fine of not more than $200 with a surcharge of $10 if you were going more than 10 mph over the recommended speed limit
- Suspension of your driver’s license for 1-5 years (this would be rare, depends on the situation though)
If you drive 30 mph or more than the speed limit in Hawaii, it is considered reckless driving, penalties for which include the following for first-time violators:
- Fine of up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to 30 days (pretty rare)
- Suspension of your driver’s license for 1-5 years
If your driver’s license is suspended or revoked, you are not legally allowed to drive until the time you fulfil the necessary requirements to get it back.
What to do after you get a speeding ticket in Hawaii
Unfortunately for motorists, there are fewer options for dealing with speeding tickets in Hawaii than in some other US states, but do not despair. Contacting an experienced Hawaiian traffic attorney is the best decision in such a situation, as he/she can help you decide on the right option depending on your specific violation.
On being slapped with a speeding ticket in Hawaii, you have broadly two options:
- Admit your guilt and pay the fine either in person, via phone, or mail (within three weeks), or online, or
- Choose to argue the case. If you choose this option, you can do so by submitting a written statement to the court or by appearing in person at court and this is where a Hawaiian traffic lawyer should enter the picture.
What you need to know is that if you choose to pay the fine, it is the same as being found guilty at court, and you face the same consequences. However, not all traffic citations require you to appear in court. Check your speeding ticket and if there is a ticked “Must Appear” box on it, you are bound to present yourself in court on the specified date and cannot get away with this issue by just paying the fine.
Can you fight a speeding ticket in Hawaii?
Yes, you can choose to fight your Hawaii speeding ticket, but it is always wise to have a stellar traffic attorney from Hawaii by your side. Any speeding violation stays on your driving record and can even lead to higher fines in the future if you are to obtain another speeding ticket or have some other legal issue to deal with, so it is better to spend some time to fight the charges and avoid these types of complications later.
If you wish to fight speeding tickets in Hawaii, you have to do so within 21 days of being given the ticket, failing which you will be declared “guilty” by default. To fight the charges, you need to submit a request for hearing or “not guilty” plea in writing to the relevant traffic court. You can submit this either personally or via mail. Keep your statement brief and fact-based, and include any evidence that may support your case.
If you are still found guilty by the judge, you have 30 days to appeal to the decision, and will have to request for a trial date. This gives you a chance to fight your speeding ticket in front of a jury and/or a judge. Unless you are well-versed in every traffic rule and know your way around legal proceedings, it is always better to hire a hard working Hawaiian traffic lawyer who can defend you in court. After all, this trial can affect which direction your life turns.
BernieSez Can Help
Now that you know that an experienced traffic attorney is vital to helping you fight a speeding ticket in Hawaii, do not think twice about hiring one. BernieSez makes this process extremely convenient for you, as you just need to upload a photo of your traffic citation on the site and fill in some details. After upload, you will receive bids from several proficient Hawaiian traffic attorneys, and you can choose one according to your liking. So get in touch today and let us help you in dealing with your speeding ticket in Hawaii.
And remember, you are not Dominic Toretto! He is a fictional character!