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The statute of limitations refers to how long does the prosecutor have before they must bring charges. I believe the answer is two years.
However, once a charge has been authorized by the prosecutor, the statute of limitations no longer applies. If you missed a court date and a bench warrant was issued, the warrant for your arrest will remain active until you turn yourself in, are arrested on the warrant, or the warrant is taken out of lein by the proper authority. The 3 and 1/2 years since the ticket was issued has nothing to do with, nor does the statute of limitations have any bearing on the warrant for your failure to appear.
If the warrant is active, and you want to clear the matter, it is always best to turn yourself in to the court that issued the warrant rather than be arrested on the warrant. When a warrant is issued, if you are arrested on it, a monetary bond is set that must be posted before you may be released. For example, if a bond was set at $500, you must come up with that amount of money, or secure the services of a bondsman so that you can get out of jail. If you turn yourself in to the court that issued the warrant, it is possible that the judge may appreciate your willingness to take care of the matter, modify the bond, and release you on your own recognizance pending a court date. There is no guarantee that this would occur, but...it's worth a try. If you are arrested, there is no way for the bond to be modified prior to being brought before the judge in the jurisdiction that issued the warrant.
You may also consider seeking the assistance of an attorney to assist you if you decide to turn yourself in. That will also show the judge that you are serious about taking care of the matter and that you will show up for future court dates.
In case you are not aware...
Penalties for Drunk Driving in Hawaii
- A first-time DUI offender will be sentenced to one or more of the following: a term of imprisonment of not less than 48 hours and not more than five days; a fine ranging from $150 to $1,000; and/or 72 hours of community service work. In addition, first-time offenders must complete a 14-hour minimum substance abuse rehabilitation program. They will also have to pay a $25 surcharge to be deposited into the neurotrauma special fund. The driver's license suspension period is 90 days.
- A person who commits a second offense within five years of the first offense will be sentenced to either five to 14 days in prison or at least 42 hours of community service work. Additionally, the offender will be fined between $500 and $1,500. The offender will also have to pay a $25 surcharge to be deposited in the neurotrauma special fund. The driver's license suspension period is one year.
- A person who commits a third offense within five years of the two prior convictions will be sentenced to 10 to 30 days in prison and will be fined between $500 and $2,500. The driver's license revocation period is one to five years. In addition, the offender's vehicle will be subject to forfeiture.
- A person who commits a fourth offense within 10 years is considered a "habitual operator of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol." Habitual offenders face up to five years in prison or a five-year term of probation. If a judge orders probation, the offender's driver's license will be revoked for one to five years. The offender's vehicle will be subject to forfeiture. The offender will also be referred to a certified substance abuse counselor and be required to pay a $25 surcharge to be deposited in the neurotrauma special fund.
- All persons convicted to DUI in Hawaii will be referred to a driver's education program for assessment by a certified substance abuse counselor of the offender's substance abuse or dependence and the need for appropriate treatment.
Good Luck to you.
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