Codification. Act 9, Session Laws 1972, effective January 1, 1973, repealed or recodified former Title 37, entitled "Criminal Law," and enacted present Title 37, entitled "Hawaii Penal Code." For the disposition of former Title 37, see table in Appendix, this title.

Commentaries. The Commentary and Supplemental Commentary following the various sections of the Penal Code are published pursuant to 701-105, which provides that the commentaries may be used as an aid in understanding the Code but not as evidence of legislative intent. The commentaries, prepared by the Judicial Council of Hawaii and by legislative counsel, have been edited by the revisor of statutes. For a fuller explanation of the commentaries, see explanatory note below.


Explanatory Note on Commentaries

1. Introductory Note on Commentaries

2. Revisor's Note on Commentaries



701 Preliminary Provisions

702 General Principles of Penal Liability

703 General Principles of Justification

704 Penal Responsibility and Fitness to Proceed

705 Inchoate Crimes

706 Disposition of Convicted Defendants

707 Offenses Against the Person

708 Offenses Against Property Rights

708A Money Laundering

709 Offenses Against the Family and Against Incompetents

710 Offenses Against Public Administration

711 Offenses Against Public Order

712 Offenses Against Public Health and Morals

712A Forfeiture

713 Repeal and Recodification Provisions



1. Abbreviations

2. Table of Disposition--Title 37. Criminal Law




Community court outreach project; annual report to 2018-2020 legislature. L 2017, c 55.






The Commentary and Supplemental Commentary are published with the Hawaii Penal Code pursuant to 701-105 of the Code.

The Commentary was originally published by the Judicial Council of Hawaii and accompanied the Council's Proposed Draft of the Hawaii Penal Code (1970). The Proposed Draft of the Code and the Commentary were prepared by the Council's Penal Law Revision Project, chaired by Circuit Judge Masato Doi. The principal drafters were Frank B. Baldwin, III, formerly Acting Associate Professor of Law, University of California at Davis, California, who served as Project Director, and Don Jeffrey Gelber, who was the Reporter.

The Proposed Draft was subjected to intensive review by the legislature which enacted the Code in 1972 after making several modifications. Section 701-105 provides that the Commentary accompanying the Judicial Council of Hawaii's Proposed Draft of the Code, as revised, shall be published and may be used "as an aid in understanding the provisions of this Code, but not as evidence of Legislative intent." The Supplemental Commentary was prepared by Mr. Gelber and Mr. Wendell Kimura, and is intended, when read together with the original commentary, to constitute the revision contemplated by 701-105. The Supplemental Commentary attempts to explain the changes which were made by the legislature to the Proposed Draft at the time of enactment in 1972 and also subsequent legislative amendments in 1973 and 1974. It also contains relevant case citations through 1974.

The legislative purpose in mandating the publication of the commentaries to the Penal Code is dealt with in 701-105 and the commentaries thereon. An example of judicial use of the Commentary can be found in State v. Nobriga, 56 H. 75, 527 P.2d 1269 (1974).




The commentaries prepared as described above have been revised by the Office of Revisor of Statutes pursuant to authority granted by the legislature.

Primarily, the Commentary, prepared by the Judicial Council, was edited to reflect the present text of the Code, where this could be readily done, without wholesale alterations, or where retention of the original comments to nonexistent language invited confusion. Revision in this respect included deletion of comments rendered irrelevant by legislative departures from the original proposals, addition of explanations to cover new matter, and some recasting of language and repositioning of comments.

Such revision of the Commentary necessitated revision of the Supplemental Commentary. Accordingly, material found in the Supplemental Commentary was adjusted, some material being transferred to the Commentary and some being omitted. The Supplemental Commentary was further revised by deleting the case annotations contained therein and placing them under what is styled as "Case Notes" in conformity with the general format of the Hawaii Revised Statutes. And, wherever possible, the commentaries have been gender-neutralized.

Further, the Revisor's Office updated the commentaries by adding notes covering changes to the Code that were adopted in the 1975 through 2014 legislative sessions. In the 2014 republication of volume 14, the Revisor's Office also made technical nonsubstantive changes to the commentaries to conform with customary citing and drafting convention.






701-100 Title and effective date of amendments

701-101 Applicability to offenses committed before the

effective date of amendments

701-102 All offenses defined by statute; applicability to

offenses committed after the effective date

701-103 Purposes of this Code

701-104 Principles of construction

701-105 Effect of commentary

701-106 Territorial applicability

701-107 Grades and classes of offenses

701-108 Time limitations

701-109 Method of prosecution when conduct establishes an

element of more than one offense

701-110 When prosecution is barred by former prosecution

for the same offense

701-111 When prosecution is barred by former prosecution

for a different offense

701-112 Former prosecution in another jurisdiction: when

a bar

701-113 Former prosecution before court lacking jurisdiction

or when fraudulently procured by the defendant

701-114 Proof beyond a reasonable doubt

701-115 Defenses

701-116 Proving applicability of the Code

701-117 Prima facie evidence

701-118 General definitions

701-119 Repealed




L 2001, c 91, 4 purports to amend this chapter.


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