Hawaii Petty Theft and Other Theft Laws

Defining Theft in the State of Hawaii

Theft is committed under Hawaii law if  the offender, with the intent to deprive another person of property or payment for services, does any of the following:

  • obtains or exerts unauthorized control over the property
  • obtains or exerts control over the property by deception
  • takes possession of lost, mislaid, or mistakenly delivered property
  • obtains services by deception (i.e. fraud), or
  • receives stolen property. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 708-830.)

Hawaii law also includes shoplifting as a theft offense. Shoplifting occurs when an offender, with the intent to defraud the shopkeeper or the  merchandise owner,  does any of the following:

  • conceals or takes possession of goods in a store
  • alters the price tag or marking on goods in a store, or
  • transfers goods in a store from one container to another. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 708-830.)

In the state of Hawaii, there also are some specific theft-related offenses set out by statute, including:

  • unauthorized operation of a recording device in a motion picture theater ( § 708-835.4)
  • theft of livestock ( § 708-835.5)
  • telemarketing fraud ( § 708-835.6)
  • theft of copper ( § 708-835.7)
  • theft of a beer keg ( § 708.835.8)
  • unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle ( § 708.836)
  • theft of utility services ( § 708.839.5)
  • identity theft ( § 708.839.6)

Classification and Punishment for Theft in Hawaii

Hawaiian law classifies and punishes theft offenses according to the type and value of the property or services involved. As the value of the property increases, the offense  is classified as  a more serious crime,  and the punishment  also becomes  more severe.      

Petty Theft and Theft in the Fourth Degree

A person commits the offense of theft in the fourth degree, a petty misdemeanor under Hawaii law, when the offense involves property or services worth less than $100. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 708-833.) Theft in the fourth degree (or petty theft) is punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of no more than 30 days, and/or a fine of no more than $1,000. ( § 706-663, § 706-640(e).)

Theft in the Third Degree

Theft in the third degree will be charged in Hawaii  if the value of the property or services is more than $100 (or if the theft is of gasoline, diesel fuel, or other related petroleum products used as propellants and valued at  less than $300). (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 708-832.) Theft in the third degree is a misdemeanor in Hawaii, punishable by imprisonment for less than one year and/or a fine of less than $2,000. ( § 706-663, § 706-640(d).)  

Theft in the Second Degree

A theft offense constitutes theft in the second degree in Hawaii if the value of the property or services is greater than $300, if the theft is from the person of another, or if the theft is of certain agricultural products or equipment worth less than $20,000. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 708-831.) Theft in the second degree is a class C felony under Hawaii law, punishable by imprisonment for a period of not more than 5 years and/or a fine of not more than $10,000. ( § 706-660(2), § 706-640(c).)

For  a first offense of theft in the second degree, the court may impose a minimum sentence of a fine of at least $1,000 or two times the amount of damages sustained by the victim, whichever is greater. ( § 708-831(2).)

Theft in the First Degree

Theft in the first degree is a class B felony under Hawaiia law. A person commits theft in the first degree when the person commits theft of:

  • property or services with a value of $20,000 or greater
  • a firearm
  • dynamite or any other explosive, or
  • property or services with a value of $300 or greater, which is stolen during a civil defense emergency proclaimed by the governor (i.e. a natural disaster or riot situation). (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 708-830.5.)

A class B felony carries a punishment of no more than ten years of imprisonment and/or a fine of no more than $25,000. ( § 708-660, § 708-640(b).)

Criminal Penalties for Shoplifting in Hawaii

For shoplifting involving merchandise valued at $100 or less, the offense is a petty misdemeanor, with a sentence of incarceration for no more than 30 days, and the minimum fine  of twice the value of the merchandise involved.

Shoplifting involving merchandise valued at between $100 and $300 is a misdemeanor offense under Hawaii law, which can result in a sentence of imprisonment of no more than one year, and a minimum fine of three times the value of the merchandise taken.

If the shoplifting offense involves merchandise valued at more than $300, the crime is a class C felony, with a sentence of incarceration of not more than five years and a minimum fine of four times the value of the merchandise stolen. If the offender has a prior conviction for shoplifting, the fine is doubled. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 708-833.5.)

Civil Penalties for Shoplifting in Hawaii

A person who commits shoplifting also may be civilly liable to the store owner for the following:

  • actual damages
  • a civil penalty of $75, and
  • an additional civil penalty of not less than $50 and not more than $500. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 663A-2.)

Defenses to Theft in the State of Hawaii

Under Hawaii law, there are several defenses to prosecution for theft, including if it can be shown that at the time of the offense:

  • the person was unaware that the property or service  belonged to  another, or
  • the person believed that he or she had a claim of right or was authorized to exert control over the property.

If the owner of the property was the person’s spouse, it is also a defense that the property  constituted "household belongings" and that the two parties were living together at the time of the alleged offense. The term "household belongings" generally refers to items such as furniture, personal effects, vehicles or money. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 708-834.)

Talk to a Lawyer

Start here to find criminal defense lawyers near you.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
DEFEND YOUR RIGHTS

Talk to a Defense attorney

We've helped 95 clients find attorneys today.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you