HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

2751

THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2020

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO FINANCIAL HARDSHIP.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. Section 286-109, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (c) to read as follows:

"(c) Statutes of limitations and other provisions of this chapter notwithstanding, no driver's license or instruction permit shall be issued or renewed under this section, where the examiner of drivers is notified by the district judge, traffic violations bureaus of the district courts, or the judge of the circuit court that the applicant has failed to respond to a traffic citation or summons, or failed to appear in court after an arrest for the violation of any traffic laws of a county, this chapter or chapter 286G, 287, 290, 291, or 291C, or of any motor vehicle insurance laws under article 10C of chapter 431, or of any motorcycle or motor scooter insurance laws under article 10G of chapter 431, and the same remains delinquent and outstanding, or the applicant, has as of the time of the application, failed to comply in full with all orders of the court; provided that the district court with whose order an applicant has failed to comply in full, may approve the issuance or renewal of a driver's license or instruction permit other than a commercial driver's license upon conditions imposed by the court for the satisfaction of the outstanding court order and any other conditions as may be imposed by the court, if one or more of the following conditions are met:

(1) The applicant is gainfully employed in a position that requires driving and will be discharged if the applicant is unable to drive; [or]

(2) The applicant has no access to alternative transportation and therefore must drive to work;

(3) The applicant or a member of the applicant's immediate family requires medical treatment on a regular basis and the applicant must drive in order for the treatment to be obtained; provided that the applicant is able to present, at a minimum, a statement signed by a licensed physician or advanced practice registered nurse that indicates that the applicant or a member of the applicant's immediate family requires medical treatment on a regular basis;

(4) The applicant must drive for necessary travel to transport a minor dependent in the applicant's immediate family to and from an institute of primary or secondary instruction; provided that the chief administrative officer or principal of the educational institution certifies in writing that the minor dependent is enrolled in the educational institution and no form of public transportation or school bus is available between the applicant's place of residence and the educational institution; or

(5) The applicant is enrolled in a class, course, or training program and must drive to and from the class or course at an accredited school, college, or university or a state-approved institution of vocational or technical training; provided that the applicant is able to present credible proof of enrollment in the class, course, or training program;

provided further that if the applicant has failed to comply in full with orders of the district court of more than one circuit, the applicant shall obtain the approval of the district court of each circuit in which the applicant has an outstanding court order before a driver's license or instruction permit may be issued or renewed under this subsection.

A driver's license or instruction permit issued or renewed under this subsection shall be subject to immediate suspension by the court upon the applicant's failure to remain in full compliance with all conditions imposed by the court for the issuance or renewal of the driver's license or instruction permit. The examiner of drivers may place an indication of restriction upon a driver's license or instruction permit issued or renewed under this subsection. Proof of financial responsibility under section 287-20 shall not apply to the issuance or renewal of driver's licenses or instruction permits under this subsection."

SECTION 2. Section 286-136, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"286-136 Penalty. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), any person who violates section 286-102, 286-122, 286-130, 286-131, 286-132, 286-133, or 286-134 shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both. Any person who violates any other section in this part shall be fined not more than $1,000.

(b) Any person who is convicted of violating section 286‑102, 286-122, 286-130, 286-131, 286-132, 286-133, or 286-134 shall be subject to a minimum fine of $500 and a maximum fine of $1,000, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both, if the person has two or more prior convictions for the same offense in the preceding five-year period.

(c) Any person cited under this section shall be given an opportunity to demonstrate that the person's nonpayment or inability to pay is not wilful. The judge shall make an individualized assessment of the person's ability to pay based on the totality of the circumstances, including but not limited to the person's disposable income, financial obligations, and liquid assets. If the judge determines that the person's nonpayment or inability to pay is not wilful, the judge shall enter an order that allows the person additional time for payment, reduces the amount of each installment, or revokes the fee or fine, or unpaid portion thereof, in whole or in part.

[(c)] (d) Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b), a minor under the age of eighteen under the jurisdiction of the family court who is subject to this section shall either lose the right to drive a motor vehicle until the age of eighteen or be subject to a fine of $500."

SECTION 3. Section 431:10C-117, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

"(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 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 not 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 judge:

(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 judge may grant community service in lieu of the fine, of not less than seventy-five hours and not more than one hundred hours for the first offense, and not 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 judge'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 cited under this section shall be given an opportunity to demonstrate that the person's nonpayment or inability to pay is not wilful. The judge shall make an individualized assessment of the person's ability to pay based on the totality of the circumstances, including but not limited to the person's disposable income, financial obligations, and liquid assets. If the judge determines that the person's nonpayment or inability to pay is not wilful, the judge shall enter an order that allows the person additional time for payment, reduces the amount of each installment, or revokes the fee or fine, or unpaid portion thereof, in whole or in part;

[(4)] (5) Any person cited under this section shall have an opportunity to present a good faith defense, including but not limited to lack of knowledge or proof of insurance. 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;

[(5)] (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 not 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

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

SECTION 4. Section 706-644, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (3) to read as follows:

"(3) The term of imprisonment for nonpayment of fee, fine, or restitution shall be specified in the order of commitment, and shall not exceed one day for each [$25] $50 of the fee or fine, thirty days if the fee or fine was imposed upon conviction of a violation or a petty misdemeanor, or one year in any other case, whichever is the shorter period. A person committed for nonpayment of a fee or fine shall be given credit toward payment of the fee or fine for each day of imprisonment, at the rate of [$25] $50 per day."

SECTION 5. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.

SECTION 6. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 7. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2020.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

Financial Hardship; Restricted License; Traffic Offenses; Contumacious Nonpayment

 

Description:

Expands the conditions for authorizing a restricted license. Provides judges with greater discretion to adjust the amount owed by a person who violates certain traffic offenses based on the person's inability to pay. Increases the amount of credit given to a contumacious person committed for nonpayment.

 

 

 

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