Levels of Crimes in Hawaii

In Hawaii, crimes are categorized based on the seriousness of the crimes and any potential penalties. If you are arrested in Hawaii, you will be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor.


A felony is a serious crime such as manslaughter, kidnapping, rape, fraud, aggravated assault, vehicle theft, child pornography, child abuse, and armed robbery. These crimes have severe penalties. They can result in time served in state prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

You will also have a criminal record which will have a long-term impact on your life. Some crimes will even result in you being required to register as a sex offender.


Misdemeanors are less serious crimes than felonies. They include crimes such as vandalism, drug possession, assault, prostitution, shoplifting, and disorderly conduct. Some misdemeanors are more severe than others. Less serious misdemeanors are categorized as petty misdemeanors.

Penalties for these crimes include up to 30 days in county jail and fines of up to $1,000. Regular misdemeanors are more serious crimes. With these misdemeanors, more severe penalties are attached, including up to one year in county jail and fines of up to $2,000.

Hawaii Criminal Process & How to Reduce Charges

You will be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony when you are arrested in Hawaii. The arresting officer should inform you of your charges and your rights. The state must then present evidence to demonstrate that you committed the crime.

The Arraignment

You will be required to appear in court for an arraignment and plea. During this session, you will be informed of your charges and asked to make a plea. Discussing your case with a criminal defense lawyer before the hearing is essential. An experienced attorney will examine your case and determine the best strategy to approach it.

If you enter a not guilty plea, the court will provide you with dates for a pre-trial and trial. Your attorney will request bail, and the court will decide on whether to set a bail hearing or not.

Gathering Evidence & Negotiating with the Prosecution

Your attorney will request the police reports and other documents related to your case. With this information, your attorney can determine the best way to proceed with the matter.

Your attorney will carry out their investigations. They may also enter plea negotiations to get your charges dropped or reduced.

The Pre-Trial Phase

The case then proceeds to the pre-trial face. During the pre-trial conference, the court will determine the status of any plea deals. Your attorney may request more time to prepare for your trial.

Reducing Charges with Specialty Courts

Specialty courts in Hawaii are designed to help individuals charged with misdemeanors or non-violent felonies get their charges reduced or dismissed. These courts oversee programs such as Mental Health Court, Drug Court, and Veterans Treatment Court programs.

These programs are structured to allow participants to overcome disorders or substance abuse and change their lives. Those eligible for these programs may be able to get probation or diversion and therefore avoid having a criminal record and jail time.

Dismissing Charges

There’s still hope for you even if your case goes to trial. Your case may be dismissed. There are several reasons a case may be dismissed.

  • There are statutory reasons to dismiss the case
  • There is a strategic reason to dismiss the case. The State may request a dismissal if they require more time to investigate the case or if this is in line with a plea deal accepted by the defendant
  • The judge may dismiss the case if the motion was brought in bad faith and the judge believes it is the right thing to do.

Call on a Reliable Honolulu Defense Lawyer

Whether you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer is essential. Whether you’re innocent or guilty, it’s crucial to have the legal guidance and support you need to prevent the situation from becoming worse than it already is.

The criminal process can be complex without a lawyer by your side. Contact Michael Fayard Criminal Defense Attorney for services from a team of experienced lawyers that can drop charges.

Call his office today at 808-445-6708 or use his online contact form to schedule a consultation.