Charges in State Court can range from relatively minor petty misdemeanor offenses all the way to Class A felonies.
Misdemeanor offenses are criminal offenses that carry a maximum possible penalty of 6 months to one year of incarceration as well as possible fines and fees and possible probationary terms.
Some common misdemeanor offenses include:
- Assault in the Third Degree
- Theft in the Third Degree
- Promoting a Detrimental Drug in the Second Degree
- Violation of a Temporary Restraining Order
- Arson in the Fourth Degree
- Criminal Property Damage in the Third Degree
- Resisting Arrest
- Terroristic Threatening in the Second Degree
Misdemeanor offenses are filed in either the district court or the family court depending on the people involved in the case. Misdemeanor offenses filed in the district court are comprised of criminal cases and traffic cases. For either type of offense, the defendant has a right to have a jury trial. It is very important that you consult with an attorney before deciding on whether to ask for a jury trial. While a right to a jury trial is an important right, a jury trial is not strategically appropriate for all types of cases. Any attorney you consult with should advise you on whether a jury trial is the best decision for your particular case. If you waive your right to a jury trial, your case will be set for trial in the district court before a judge and will proceed in the same fashion as the petty misdemeanor cases discussed above.
If you do demand a jury trial, your case will be transferred to the circuit court where you will be arraigned again. Your first court date after demanding a jury trial will be for arraignment and plea. At arraignment, you will be given a jury trial date.
Criminal misdemeanor cases can also be filed in the family court. For the family court to have jurisdiction over a misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor case, there must be some sort of familial relationship between the complainant and the defendant. Your attorney can explain to you what specifically constitutes such a relationship.
Cases involving violations of temporary restraining orders or orders for protection will also likely be filed in the family court if the family court issued the temporary restraining order or order for protection.
If a charge against you has been filed in the family court, your initial arraignment and plea date and any subsequent trial dates will be heard on the 8th floor of the district court at 1111 Alakea Street in downtown Honolulu. Consulting with an experienced attorney on these types of cases is crucial as some of them carry a mandatory jail term.