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.
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.
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.