§431:10C-117  Penalties.

  (a)(1)  Any person subject to this article in the capacity of the operator, owner, or registrant of a motor vehicle operated in this State, or registered in this State, who violates any applicable provision of this article, shall be subject to citation for the violation by any county police department in a form and manner approved by the traffic and emergency period violations bureau of the district court of the first circuit;

     (2)  Notwithstanding any provision of the Hawaii Penal Code:

          (A)  Each violation shall be deemed a separate offense and shall be subject to a fine of no less than $100 nor more than $5,000 which shall not be suspended except as provided in subparagraph (B); and

          (B)  If the person is convicted of not having had a motor vehicle insurance policy in effect at the time the citation was issued, the fine shall be $500 for the first offense and a minimum of $1,500 for each subsequent offense that occurs within a five-year period from any prior offense; provided that the court:

              (i)  Shall have the discretion to suspend all or any portion of the fine if the defendant provides proof of having a current motor vehicle insurance policy; provided further that upon the defendant's request, the court may grant community service in lieu of the fine, of no less than seventy-five hours and no more than one hundred hours for the first offense, and no less than two hundred hours nor more than two hundred seventy-five hours for the second offense; and

             (ii)  May grant community service in lieu of the fine for subsequent offenses at the court's discretion;

     (3)  In addition to the fine in paragraph (2), the court shall either:

          (A)  Suspend the driver's license of the driver or of the registered owner for:

              (i)  Three months for the first conviction; and

             (ii)  One year for any subsequent offense within a five-year period from a previous offense;

              provided that the driver or the registered owner shall not be required to obtain proof of financial responsibility pursuant to section 287‑20; or

          (B)  Require the driver or the registered owner to keep a nonrefundable motor vehicle insurance policy in force for six months;

     (4)  Any person subject to a fine under this section and who fails to timely pay the fine shall be given an opportunity to petition the court to demonstrate that the person's nonpayment or inability to pay is not wilful; provided that if the person petitions the court, the court shall make an individualized assessment of the person's ability to pay based upon the totality of the circumstances, including the person's disposable income, financial obligations, and liquid assets; provided further that if the court determines that the person's nonpayment or inability to pay is not wilful, the court may enter an order that allows additional time for payment; reduces the amount of each installment; revokes the fee or fine, or unpaid portion thereof, in whole or in part; or converts any outstanding fine to community service;

     (5)  Any person cited under this section shall have an opportunity to present a good faith defense, including lack of knowledge or proof of insurance; provided that the general penalty provision of this section shall not apply to:

          (A)  Any operator of a motor vehicle owned by another person if the operator's own insurance covers such driving;

          (B)  Any operator of a motor vehicle owned by that person's employer during the normal scope of that person's employment; or

          (C)  Any operator of a borrowed motor vehicle if the operator holds a reasonable belief that the subject vehicle is insured;

     (6)  In the case of multiple convictions for driving without a valid motor vehicle insurance policy within a five-year period from any prior offense, the court, in addition to any other penalty, shall impose the following penalties:

          (A)  Imprisonment of no more than thirty days;

          (B)  Suspension or revocation of the motor vehicle registration plates of the vehicle involved;

          (C)  Impoundment, or impoundment and sale, of the motor vehicle for the costs of storage and other charges incident to seizure of the vehicle, or any other cost involved pursuant to section 431:10C-301; or

          (D)  Any combination of those penalties; and

     (7)  Any violation as provided in paragraph (2)(B) shall not be deemed to be a traffic infraction as defined by chapter 291D.

     (b)  Any person, in the capacity of a licensed or unlicensed motor vehicle insurer, self-insurer, producer, or other representative, who violates any provision of this article shall be assessed a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 for each violation.

     (c)  Any person, in the capacity of a licensed or unlicensed motor vehicle insurer, self-insurer, producer, or other representative, who knowingly violates any provision of this article shall be assessed a civil penalty of not less than $3,000 and not to exceed $10,000 for each violation.

  (d)(1)  Violations of subsections (b) and (c) shall be subject to the construction that each repetition of such act shall constitute a separate violation; and

     (2)  The imposition of any civil penalty under subsection (a), (b), or (c) shall be in addition to, and shall not in any way limit or affect the application of, any other civil or criminal penalty, or public safety condition or requirement, provided by law. [L 1987, c 347, pt of §2; am L 1988, c 345, §1; am L 1989, c 348, §1; am L 1990, c 167, §1; am L 1993, c 205, §25; am L Sp 1993, c 4, §4; am L 1996, c 20, §1; ree L 1997, c 2, §11 and am c 251, §27; am L 1998, c 231, §2 and c 275, §9; am L 2002, c 155, §69; am L 2006, c 195, §1; am L 2021, c 81, §3 and c 185, §17]


Case Notes


  Applies to repeat offenders and to defendants being sentenced at a single proceeding.  751 F. Supp. 1420 (1990).

  Borrower of a vehicle cannot assert a good-faith defense without at least inquiring of the owner whether or not the vehicle is insured.  71 H. 178, 787 P.2d 214 (1990).

  Where State conceded that appellant had borrowed uninsured vehicle from a friend, in order to defeat lack of knowledge defense, State was required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that appellant actually knew that the vehicle was uninsured at the time appellant was operating it.  78 H. 86, 890 P.2d 673 (1995).

  As §571-1 mandates against treating juvenile adjudications as convictions, appellate court erred in holding that defendant's prior juvenile adjudication of driving without no-fault insurance constituted a conviction for purposes of applying the repeat offender sentencing provisions of this section (1993) to defendant's subsequent offense of driving without no-fault insurance.  92 H. 521, 993 P.2d 555 (2000).

  Section mandates that an insurer be fined if it violates §431:10C-207 but gives the commissioner some discretion as to the amount of the fine; commissioner's imposition of $3,000 fine was not an abuse of discretion as it satisfied the statutory requirements.  104 H. 261, 88 P.3d 196 (2004).

  Certified copy of a person's traffic abstract is satisfactory evidence to establish the person's prior no no-fault insurance conviction; State not required to show defendant was counseled at time of prior no no-fault insurance conviction; there was insufficient proof of defendant's prior conviction to support enhanced sentence for no no-fault insurance offense, where record disclosed no evidence to tie defendant with [person with the same name] of the traffic abstract.  9 H. App. 516, 852 P.2d 476 (1993).

  Pursuant to §431:10C-117(a)(2) (1992) good faith defense and §431:10C-117(a)(2)(C) (1992) reasonable belief defense, borrower of a motor vehicle has a statutory right to reasonably believe that borrowed motor vehicle is insured.  If one or more relevant facts reasonably required borrower to inquire, borrower then had a duty to inquire until borrower reasonably believed that motor vehicle was insured.  10 H. App. 519, 879 P.2d 566 (1994).

  It was the "obvious intention" of the legislature to authorize the retroactive application of the part of Act 167, L 1990, that authorized the sentencing court the discretion to impose a sentence of community service instead of a fine.  77 H. 476 (App.), 888 P.2d 376 (1995).

  Where defendant was sentenced pursuant to subsection (a)(2), because the district court may have been unaware of the applicability of quoted parts of §§706-641 and 706-642 and of its discretionary authority to sentence defendant to perform community service rather than to pay the fine, appellate court vacated the part of the sentence ordering defendant to pay a $1,000 fine and remanded that part for resentencing.  77 H. 476 (App.), 888 P.2d 376 (1995).

  An officer who has grounds to arrest individual for driving without no-fault insurance is required to issue summons or citation in lieu of physically taking defendant to police station or court.  78 H. 98 (App.), 890 P.2d 685 (1994).

  When trial court revoked driver's suspended sentence, it lacked authority to do so where the State, despite knowledge that driver had been arrested for another no-motor-vehicle-insurance charge, did not move to revoke driver's suspended sentence within the suspended sentence period, and driver was not convicted of the second citation charge until after the suspended sentence period for the first citation had already expired.  106 H. 391 (App.), 105 P.3d 1197 (2005).