HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
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; [
(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 further 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 institution of primary or secondary education; provided further 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 further 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
SECTION 5. The legislature finds that the annual taxes and fees collected when non-new motor vehicles are registered can have a dire impact on Hawaii's residents, who may not be able to pay the taxes and fees in one lump sum, which can reach hundreds of dollars. The legislature further finds that the high cost of living is a great concern to Hawaii's residents, and steps taken to alleviate this concern will greatly benefit Hawaii's residents. Allowing biannual vehicle registration will reduce the number of illegal cars on the road, reduce the number of abandoned vehicles, and aid low-income residents struggling to keep up with Hawaii's high cost of living.
The purpose of this part is to provide Hawaii's residents with the option of paying associated motor vehicle registration taxes and fees on a biannual basis, allowing people to pay their registration with two monetary installments every six months in a twelve-month period.
SECTION 6. Chapter 249, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§249- Registration; fee; taxes. (a) Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter to the contrary, any person may request a biannual registration installment fee schedule for the person's motor vehicle registration pursuant to section 286‑ . If the request is granted, the annual taxes and fees levied under this chapter shall be prorated and paid at the time of each biannual installment for motor vehicle registration.
(b) No interest shall be assessed based on the fact that the taxes and fees are paid on a biannual basis."
SECTION 7. Chapter 286, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part III to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§286- Biannual registration. (a) A person who would normally be required to apply for and obtain a registration of a motor vehicle under this part may pay for the person's motor vehicle registration fee on a biannual installment basis.
(b) The director of finance may elect to issue to a person registering a vehicle pursuant to this section certificates of registration and corresponding tags or emblems of six months in duration to ensure timely installment payments from the registrant."
SECTION 8. Section 249-5.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
"(a) All vehicles taxable under sections 249-1,
249-2, 249-4 and 249-6 to 249-13, which are stored so that they are not used
for transportation, or for the other purposes covered by section 249-2, shall
be exempt from the tax for the period of storage; provided that the owner of
each vehicle shall first present to the director of finance a signed statement
of the fact of the storage, together with other relevant facts as may be
required by the director of finance and shall surrender the last issued
certificate of registration, license plates, and emblem for the vehicle. If the affidavit, certificate of
registration, license plates, and emblem are presented to the director of
finance after the expiration of the vehicle's registration period, then the
unpaid tax for each month the license plates could have been validated with an
emblem plus the fee for the currently issued license plates and emblem shall be
paid in full upon presenting the affidavit[
.]; provided that the
amount of unpaid tax due shall not exceed twelve months."
SECTION 9. Section 249-10, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§249-10 Delinquent penalties;
seizure and sale for tax. (a) [
Any] Subject to subsection (d),
any tax imposed by sections 249-1 to 249-13 for any year and not paid when
due, shall become delinquent and a penalty shall be added to, and become part
of, the delinquent tax[ .]; provided that the delinquent tax due shall
not exceed the current tax due plus any unpaid tax due for the immediately
preceding year. The amount of the
delinquency penalty shall be a flat rate for twelve months to be
established by the county's legislative body.
If the date that the tax is due is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday,
the tax shall become delinquent at the end of the next day that is not a
Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday. The
director of finance may require the payment of any delinquent tax and penalty
as a condition precedent to the registration, renewal, or transfer of ownership
of such vehicle. Any vehicle not having
the number plates required by sections 249-1 to 249-13, or any vehicle upon
which taxes are delinquent as provided in this section, may be seized, wherever
found, by the director of finance or by any police officer, and held for a
period of ten days, during which time the vehicle shall be subject to redemption
by its owner by payment of the taxes due, together with the delinquent
penalties [ and the cost of storage and other charges incident to the seizure
of the vehicle]. The director of
finance, chief of police, or any police officer shall be deemed to have seized
and taken possession of any vehicle, after having securely sealed it where
located and posted a notice upon the vehicle, setting forth the fact that it
has been seized for taxes and warning all other persons from molesting it under
penalty provided by section 249-11.
(b) All vehicles seized and sealed shall remain at the place of seizure or at any other place that the director of finance may direct, at the expense and risk of the owner. If the owner of the vehicle fails to redeem it within ten days after seizure, the vehicle may be sold by the director of finance at public auction to the highest bidder for cash, after giving ten days public notice in the county and by posting notices in at least three public places in the district where the vehicle was seized; provided that the requirements of public auction may be waived when the appraised value of any vehicle is less than $250 as determined by the director of finance or authorized representative, in which case the vehicle may be disposed of in the same manner as when a vehicle is put up for public auction and for which no bid is received. The amount realized at the sale, less the amount of the tax and penalty due, together with all costs incurred in giving public notice, storing, and selling the vehicle and all other charges incident to the seizure and sale, shall be paid to the owner of the vehicle. If no claim for the surplus is filed with the director of finance within sixty days from the date of the sale, the surplus shall be paid into the county treasury as a government realization and all claim to that sum shall thereafter be forever barred.
(c) The owner of any antique motor vehicle shall be exempt from the tax and delinquent penalty imposed under this chapter for the entire period of nonuse; provided that the owner of the antique motor vehicle shall first present to the director of finance a signed and sworn certificate attesting to the antique motor vehicle's period of nonuse.
(d) If a person who has opted to pay a motor vehicle registration fee on a biannual basis as authorized under section 249‑ fails to timely pay the biannual portion of the tax due, the delinquency penalty shall be one-half of the delinquency penalty that would be applied to a person required to register the same motor vehicle on an annual basis."
SECTION 10. Section 249-34, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§249-34 Delinquent penalties; seizure and sale for tax and fee. Any tax or fee imposed under sections 249-31 and 249-33 for any year, or imposed under section 249‑ for any biannual installment period, and not paid when due shall be subject to the penalties provided in section 249-10."
SECTION 11. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.
SECTION 12. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 13. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2050.
Financial Hardship; Restricted Driver's License; Traffic Offenses; Contumacious Nonpayment; Motor Vehicles; Registration; Hardship; Director of Finance; Biannual Basis
Expands the conditions for authorizing a restricted driver's 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. Decreases the imprisonment term to contumacious nonpayment ratio. Increases the amount of credit given to a person committed for contumacious nonpayment. Provides Hawaii residents with the option of paying for the registration of their motor vehicles and associated taxes and fees on a biannual basis. Restricts the amount of delinquency tax due to the current tax due plus one year. Removes language allowing storage costs and costs incident to seizure of a vehicle from inclusion in the amount the owner of a vehicle must pay in order to redeem the vehicle after seizure. Effective 7/1/2050. (HD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.