Directions to the Court
In Hilo, the courthouse is located at:
777 Kilauea Avenue
Hilo, Hawai‘i 96720-4212
In Waimea, the district and family court is located at:
67-5187 Kamamalu Street
Kamuela, Hawai‘i 96743
In Kona, the family court is located at:
77-6399 Nalani Street
Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i 96740
In Kona, the district court and division 4 Circuit Court is located at:
79-1020 Haukapila Street
Kealakekua, Hawai‘i 96750
In Kona, division 3 Circuit Court is located at:
81-940 Halekii Street
Kealakekua, Hawai‘i 96750
Criminal Justice System
The criminal justice system includes felonies, misdemeanors, petty misdemeanors and violations.
Different types of cases are handled differently within the court system. Violations, petty misdemeanors and most misdemeanors are handled in the District Courts. Felonies may begin in the District Courts, but after a preliminary hearing, are committed to the Circuit Courts. All jury trials are held before the Circuit Courts. Juvenile and certain offenses involving family members are heard before the Family Courts.
Criminal offenses are defined by state law in the Hawai’i Revised Statutes (HRS) or by county ordinance in the Hawai’i County Ordinances (HCO).
Some examples of the types of offenses prosecuted by the Prosecutor’s Office are described below:
A crime is a felony when a convicted person may be sentenced to a maximum term of imprisonment of more than 1 year. HRS 701-107(2). Felonies include murder, robbery, burglary, possession of dangerous drugs, sex offenses, assaults with serious or substantial injury, property damage of more than $1500 or arson more than $500, thefts and fraud of more than $300, theft of copper or agricultural products, unauthorized control of propelled vehicles, habitual operation of a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant (“OVUI”), and major weapons offenses.
A crime is a misdemeanor when a convicted person may be sentenced to a maximum term of imprisonment of not more than 1 year. HRS 701-107(3). Misdemeanors include assaults with minor injuries, property damage less than $1,500, resisting arrest, interfering with police officers, prostitution, and minor weapon offenses.
A crime is a petty misdemeanor when a convicted person may be sentenced to a maximum term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 days. HRS 701-107(4). Petty misdemeanors include mutual affray, disorderly conduct, harassment, trespass, OVUI and contempt of court.
A violation is an offense that is punishable by a fine and is not punishable by a term of imprisonment. HRS 701-107(5). Violations include minor traffic offenses.
Juvenile Criminal Matters
When a youth is taken into custody by the police, the youth may be released to his or her parents or guardians, or taken to the juvenile detention facility. The police report will be written and submitted to the Family Court.
The purposes of the Hawai’i family courts are to promote the reconciliation of distressed juveniles with their families, foster the rehabilitation of juveniles in difficulty, render appropriate punishment to offenders and reduce juvenile delinquency. HRS 571-1
All non-felony offenses are reviewed by the Family Court intake officer to determine whether or not informal adjustment is appropriate. Informal adjustment may include participation in restitution projects, community service projects, community based programs, educational programs, youth-initiated programs, outreach programs, examinations or testing, placement in a nonsecure or secure shelter. HRS 571-31.4.
For cases not informally adjusted, the Prosecutor’s Office reviews police reports and determines whether or not a formal action should be filed. If so, a petition is filed and the child has a right to counsel. The child’s parents, guardian or legal custodian may accompany the child and in most cases, the hearing is closed to the public. If a child is adjudicated to have committed an offense, the court may place the child on probation and impose conditions which may include custody in a youth correctional facility not to exceed one year and other conditions including treatment, community service and restitution. If the child is not placed on probation, the court may vest legal custody of the child in a Hawai’i youth correctional facility or other approved public or private institution. HRS 571-41, 571-48.