Hawaii Domestic Violence
Domestic violence laws in Hawaii make it a crime to physically abuse a member of your family or household, including your spouse (or former spouse), someone you are dating, your parent, your child, a co-parent, or any person living with you or related to you by blood. Domestic violence is a serious criminal offense and Hawaii law enforcement officials and prosecutors take allegations of abuse against family and household members extremely seriously. The frightening truth is that domestic violence allegations can be brought against anyone, anywhere, at any time, and even if you have been falsely accused of abuse, the government can still take you to court. If you have been charged with the crime of domestic violence in Hawaii, you will want to hire a knowledgeable and aggressive criminal defense attorney who specializes in domestic violence charges and who can get you the best possible outcome in your case. The sooner you retain an attorney, the stronger your defense will be, so don’t wait.
Hawaii Domestic Violence Law
There is one important factor that sets the crime of domestic violence apart from other crimes involving abusive or violent behavior, and that is the relationship between the alleged victim and the accused. Domestic violence is a fairly broad term covering a wide variety of abusive or violent offenses, but it is specific in the requirement that the abuse must occur between family or household members for domestic violence charges to apply. The law covering domestic violence crimes in Hawaii is Hawaii Revised Statutes § 709-906 (abuse of family or household members). The law states the following: “(1) It shall be unlawful for any person, singly or in concert, to physically abuse a family or household member or to refuse compliance with the lawful order of a police officer under subsection (4).” For the purposes of Hawaii domestic violence laws, a “family or household member” includes any of the following:
- Current or former spouses,
- People in a dating relationship,
- People who have a child in common,
- People related by blood, and
- People who currently or formerly resided together.
The law specifically excludes adult roommates or cohabitants who lived together “only by virtue of an economic or contractual affiliation” in its definition of family or household members for the purposes of categorizing acts of domestic violence.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Hawaii
In Hawaii, police responding to a domestic violence call have the power to arrest the alleged offender, with or without a warrant, if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person is physically abusing, or has physically abused, a member of his or her family or household. If the accused is 18 years of age or older, the police also have the power to order the person to leave the premises for a “period of separation” and refrain from contacting the alleged victim during this period. Under Hawaii domestic violence laws, physically abusing a family or household member, or refusing to comply with the lawful order of a police officer who reasonably believes that a person has physically abused a family or household member, is a misdemeanor crime, punishable by a minimum jail sentence of 48 hours for a first offense.
If the alleged offender is convicted of a second domestic violence offense within one year of the first conviction, he or she will be considered a “repeat offender” and will serve a minimum jail sentence of 30 days. In some cases, a Hawaii domestic violence crime can be upgraded to a felony offense carrying much more severe criminal penalties. For instance, a third or subsequent domestic violence offense occurring within two years of a second or subsequent conviction is a Class C felony in Hawaii, punishable by up to five years in state prison (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 706-660). The same is true in cases where the physical abuse involves strangulation or impeding the alleged victim’s blood flow or occurs in the presence of a minor who is a family or household member under the age of 14.
Hawaii Domestic Violence Defense
Facing criminal charges for domestic abuse in Hawaii can result in serious, life-changing consequences, possibly including jail time, considerable fines, a loss of your parental rights and a criminal record that follows you for the rest of your life. If you want to avoid serving time in jail, losing custody of your children or being labeled an abuser, you need the help of a reputable Hawaii criminal defense lawyer. The best defense against domestic violence charges depends a great deal on the specific facts of the case, and when you are seeking legal representation, you want a defense attorney who will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your arrest, the charges against you and the prosecution’s evidence, in order to craft the strongest possible defense. The following are some possible defenses against domestic violence your attorney may be able to present in your case:
- Mistaken identity
- Lack of probable cause for the arrest
- Insufficient evidence
- Illegal search and seizure
- Accidental injury
- False allegations of abuse
Contact a Skilled Hawaii Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
Domestic violence laws in Hawaii were originally enacted to prevent acts of spousal abuse, but the law also provides important protections for other family or household members, including parents, children, people in a dating relationship, people who reside together, people related by blood and people who have a child in common. If you have been arrested on suspicion of a domestic violence crime in Hawaii, it is imperative that you retain the services of an experienced Hawaii domestic violence defense attorney who knows the law and who will work tirelessly to protect your rights. Being convicted on charges of domestic violence in Hawaii can cost you your freedom, your family, your livelihood, and your future, and you don’t want to leave your case in the hands of a novice attorney. Do not wait until criminal charges have been filed, get in touch with an experienced domestic violence defense attorney today.