Driver's License Stoppers

A motorist who has a driver's license "stopper" on his or her record will not be allowed to obtain or renew a driver's license.

By Hawai`i law, a court is required to place a "stopper" on an individual's driver's license record whenever the individual fails to pay the total amount ordered by the court for a civil moving or equipment traffic infraction within 30 days.

A license stopper may also be imposed if a defendant fails to respond to a citation or summons for a traffic crime; fails to appear in court after being arrested for a traffic-related crime and released to appear in court on a particular date and time; fails to fully comply with any court order; or fails to appear for a traffic infraction that requires a court appearance.

Failure to pay the total amount ordered by a court will result in the imposition of other penalties besides a stopper, including referral of the defendant's case to a collection agency.

How to Clear a Driver's License Stopper

To clear a license stopper, an individual must: pay in full the total amount that he or she has been ordered to pay in all cases underlying the stopper; and fully comply with all court orders (e.g., completion of a driver's education class) entered in the underlying cases.

In addition, a clearance may be issued if a default judgment that led to the imposition of a stopper is set aside. (A default judgment is entered by a court when a defendant who is cited for a civil moving or equipment traffic infraction fails to timely respond to a citation or fails to appear at a scheduled hearing.)

An individual who wishes to set aside a default judgment shall, within 90 days of the entry of the default judgment, file a "Motion to Set Aside the Default Judgment" and post an appearance bond secured by cash equal to the total amount that the individual was ordered to pay by the default judgment. The motion should explain why good cause existed for the individual's failure to appear. If the motion is filed more than 90 days after the entry of default judgment, the individual must explain why exceptional circumstances existed for the individual's failure to appear and why the motion was not timely filed. The stopper is lifted when the individual posts the appearance bond.

The court will review the motion and render a decision. If the court sets aside the default judgment, the motorist can request a hearing on the traffic infraction or submit a written statement in lieu of appearing; the court will then render a decision on the traffic infraction. If the court decides not to set aside the default judgment, the money posted for the appearance bond will be used to satisfy the individual's payment obligation under the default judgment. A clearance can thereafter be issued, provided the individual has complied with any other outstanding court orders.

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