Driving Without a Valid (or on a Suspended) License in Hawaii

Read about the penalties for driving without a valid license in Hawaii.

Like all other states, Hawaii prohibits driving without a license or driving while one’s license is suspended or revoked. This article explains what constitutes these violations, the possible penalties, and the exceptions to the rule.

Driving Without a License

Generally, every person who operates a motor vehicle on a Hawaii highway must possess and be able to display a valid driver’s license.

License not in possession. Drivers who have a valid license but do not have it in their immediate possession can be cited for a traffic violation. However, this citation will be dismissed in court if the driver produces a license that was valid at the time of the citation.

Driving without a valid license. Driving without ever having been issued a license or with an expired license can result in up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. A second conviction within five years carries a mandatory 30 days in jail and/or a mandatory $1,000 fine. And violators who are under the age of 18 can lose all driving privileges until the age of 18.

Exceptions. Non-resident drivers with valid driver’s licenses from their home state or country can drive in the state without a Hawaii license, subject to Hawaii age restrictions. Farmers, federal employees, and emergency responders may also be exempt under certain circumstances.

Driving While Restrained

A person who operates a vehicle while on a suspended or revoked license will generally face the same penalties as a person convicted of driving without a valid license. However, the penalties are different if the driver was suspended for failing to pay child support or for driving under the influence.

DUI-related. Driving while suspended carries increased penalties if the restraint was related to a DUI incident. Convicted persons will serve three to 30 days in jail, pay a fine of $250 to $1,000, and face a one-year license revocation. A second conviction within five years carries 30 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, and a two-year license revocation. A third offense within five years will result in one year in prison, a $2,000 fine, and permanent license revocation. Any violation will also result in revocation of any ignition interlock device license that was previously issued to the driver.

Child support-related. Violators who were suspended for failure to pay child support face three to 30 days in jail and a $250 to $1,000 fine. A second offense in five years will result in 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. And the driver’s license will remain suspended until the family court issues a written authorization of compliance.

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