What Should I Expect After My Arrest in Hawaii?

Following your arrest, you will be processed by the police department and arraigned at a hearing with a judge. If this is your first arrest and you’re charged with a minor crime, you’ll probably be released on a promise to appear for future court dates.

But that’s not guaranteed. The crime you’re charged with may have a predetermined bail amount. If the judge thinks there’s an issue with the situation or the charges are serious, you will need to pay bail and promise to follow specific rules before you’re released.

If you have the money on hand or can get it from family and friends, you can leave after you pay bail. Another option may be working with a bail bondsman. These companies can post your bail for a fee if someone agrees to be responsible for the amount if you don’t appear for a later court hearing.

As the number and seriousness of the crimes increases, so will the bail amount. It helps if you have no criminal history, have ties to the community, and are not a substance abuser. The bail amount may be less if you’re a first-time offender. But if you’re charged with a serious, violent crime, you may not afford to pay bail, be unable to post a bond, or the judge may decide you should stay in jail.

Will I Go to Jail if I’m Convicted?

If the charge is less severe, you may get a suspended sentence and spend little or no time incarcerated. There are three types of crimes – felonies, misdemeanors, and petty misdemeanors:

  • Felonies are crimes where a conviction can result in more than a year sentence. They’re broken into classes (A, B, and C) depending on their severity
  • A misdemeanor conviction carries a sentence of up to a year in prison
  • A petty misdemeanor has a possible sentence of up the 30 days in jail

Fraud, for example, can be a:

  • Class C felony if more than $2,000 is involved
  • A misdemeanor if less than $2,000 is involved
  • A petty misdemeanor if no money was lost

The Class C felony maximum imprisonment in Hawaii is five years. Depending on the amount involved in the fraud and it’s your first offense, you may be sentenced to probation (court-ordered supervision in your community). You’ll have a list of conditions or requirements you must meet to stay on probation and avoid jail time.

You will likely face much less punishment if this is your first conviction in Hawaii. If you have:

  • One prior felony conviction, you face a minimum of a year and eight months in prison
  • Two prior felony convictions, there’s a minimum of three years and four months in prison
  • Three or more prior felony convictions, the minimum incarceration is five years

These much stiffer prison terms are one reason to avoid a conviction. Even if your prior felony conviction has nothing to do with fraud, it exposes you to a mandatory minimum prison sentence.

How Can I Avoid the Worst?

If you’re arrested for the first time, and you face mental health and substance abuse challenges, you may qualify for a diversion program, such as Hawaii’s Letting Everyone Advance with Dignity (LEAD) program, which may, depending on the charge you face, divert you from the criminal justice system.

Most criminal cases resolve through a (808) 445-6708 or complete our contact form, and we can call you for a free consultation.