If you’re thinking of driving around the Hawaiian islands without valid auto insurance, think again. The state has severe penalties for operating a motor vehicle without sufficient insurance, including fines, community service, suspension of registration and licensing, vehicle detention and even jail time. The potential cost of driving without insurance is higher than the cost of the policy provided for by law.
Hawaii’s Revised Statute §431:10C-117(a)(2)(B) provides that the first offense for driving without insurance will cost you $500, and each subsequent violation within five years of the previous violation will result in a minimum fine of $1,500. Tipon Law Firm, based in Honolulu, claims that even the first violations can often cost you more than $1,000 and sometimes even more. At the discretion of the judge, you can receive a community service sentence in lieu of a fine, but you or your attorney must request this, and it is not guaranteed.
Understandably, your main concern may be how to pay the excessive fine associated with this type of citation, but the fine is not the end of your problem. Hawaii law states that courts will impose penalties in addition to fines. Your driver’s license can be suspended for at least three months if this is your first conviction and one year for subsequent violations. In addition, the court may require you to keep your auto insurance policy non-refundable in effect for six months.
Impress the medium
If you are arrested without insurance more than once over a 5-year period, Hawaii law evaluates additional penalties. Vehicle registration may be suspended and you may have to strip your license plate during the suspension period. If this happens, the car cannot be used by anyone, even a valid driver’s license holder. In addition, the court may impound the vehicle itself and charge you for all relevant towing and retention charges. If you are unable to pay these costs, the court can sell your car without your involvement.
Hawaii becomes difficult for repeat offenders. At the discretion of the judge, you can face any punishment allowed by law and still go to jail. Hawaii law states that prison sentences for driving without insurance must be limited to 30 days or less. You must be convicted of the same crime more than once within a five-year period for the judge to consider jail time. Contact an insurance agent to avoid this unnecessary trip into prison.