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Hawaii Statute of Limitations

A stylized image of Hawaii with the words Statute of Limitations overlaid

Statute of Limitations HI- Summary

Hawaii’s statute of limitations establishes a deadline before which civil cases – such as lawsuits – must be filed in the state. In relation to criminal charges, it also prevents prosecutors from charging an individual with a crime after a specified period of time has passed. The statutes of limitations for different civil actions and crimes can vary from state to state, so read on for more information about how they apply in Hawaii.

Hawaii Civil Statute of Limitations

Hawaii’s civil statute of limitations sets deadlines under which lawsuits and other civil actions must be filed in the state. These limits typically range from two – ten years, depending on the type of case or procedure. The date or discovery of an incident is usually when time starts counting down.  

Be aware that if you fail to file your civil claim before the established deadline, the opposing party can use the statute of limitations in their defense and file a motion to dismiss the case on the basis that the time allotted to file it has already passed. Any legal claim will be lost forever once your case is dismissed. 

A summary of civil statutes of limitations in Hawaii:

Injury to Person2 yrs. §657-7
Libel/Slander2 yrs. §657-4
Fraud2 yrs. §657-7
Injury to Personal Property2 yrs. §657-7
Professional MalpracticeMedical: 2 yrs. from reasonable discovery, with maximum of 6 yrs. §657-7.3
Trespass2 yrs. §657-7
Collection of Rents6 yrs. §657-1
ContractsWritten: 6 yrs. §657-1; Oral: 6 yrs. §657-1
Collection of Debt on Account6 yrs. §657-1
Judgments10 yrs. from court of record §657-5; 6 yrs. if judgment came from a court not of record §657-1

State laws related to filing lawsuits can change often. While our goal is to provide the most current information available, please consider contacting a Hawaii attorney or doing legal research of your own to verify the state law(s) you’re researching. 

Hawaii Criminal Statute of Limitations

Hawaii’s criminal statute of limitations sets time limits on the filing of criminal charges in the state. As it is in most states, Hawaii does not place a deadline on bringing charges for crimes considered especially heinous, including first or second degree murder, second degree attempted murder, criminal conspiracy to commit murder in any degree, criminal solicitation to commit murder, and sexual assault in the first and second degree, and continuous sexual assault of a minor under 14. Prosecutors can charge someone with one of these crimes no matter how much time has passed. 

The majority of felonies committed in Hawaii fall under Class A offenses, which carry a six-year statute of limitations in the state. Parking violations and most misdemeanors have a two-year deadline under which charges can be filed in Hawaii, while petty misdemeanors and any violations aside from parking offenses are given a one-year limit.

A summary of criminal statutes of limitations in Hawaii:

Code SectionHawaii Penal Code section 701-108
Felonies– First or second degree murder, second degree attempted murder, criminal conspiracy to commit murder in any degree, criminal solicitation to commit murder, and sexual assault in the first and second degree: none
– Continuous sexual assault of a minor under the age of 14 years: none
– Manslaughter where operating a motor vehicle did not lead to death: 10 yrs.
– Class A felonies: 6 yrs.
– Any felony that falls under part IX of chapter 708 in the Penal Code: 5 yrs.
– If fraud or breach of fiduciary obligation is element: 2-6 yrs. (extension after discovery; if based on misconduct in public office: 2-3 yrs. extension upon discovery)
– Other felonies: 3 yrs.
Misdemeanors– Misdemeanor or parking violation: 2 yrs.
– Petty misdemeanors or a violation other than a parking violation: 1 yr.
Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run– Absent from state for long periods; has no identifiable residence or work within the state; while prosecution is pending: max. extension 4 yrs.
– Prosecution pending for the same conduct
– Felony offense under part V or VI of chapter 707 of Hawaii’s Penal Code, during any time when the victim is alive and under 18 yrs of age
When Statutes Can Be Extended– Any crime with an element of fraud, deception, or breach of fiduciary obligation within 3 yrs of discovery: extension of up 6 yrs.
– Any crime of misconduct while in public office brought forward within 2 years of misconduct: extension of up to 3 yrs.
– Any felony that includes DNA evidence from the offender (if test is performed prior to the original statute running out): extension of up to 10 yrs.

State laws are always subject to change. While our goal is to provide the most current information available, please consider contacting an attorney in Hawaii or doing legal research of your own to verify the state law(s) you’re. 

Hawaii Recording Laws