As a temporary service, we now offer the option of video conference consults in lieu of in person meetings.|More Info


Tag: kona lawyer

A Kona Lawyer Reveals What to Expect in a Child Custody Dispute

Any time parents divorce in Hawaii, the issue of child custody is a major point of contention. This process is difficult for parents and children alike, and not everyone will have the opportunity to have their preferences met by the court. That said, it is helpful to understand how custody is decided under the law. A Kona lawyer could help advise you on what to expect.

When the courts make a decision regarding custody, they do so with the best interest of the child in mind. That does not mean you don’t have rights as a parent, but your preferences will be second to the needs of your children.

The attorneys at Olson & Sons understand how important these issues are. The decision of the court in a child custody dispute could reshape the relationship you have with your children. Reach out right away for your free consultation with a Kona lawyer.

Continue reading “A Kona Lawyer Reveals What to Expect in a Child Custody Dispute”

How Do Kona DUI Lawyers Attack FST Evidence?

In many cases, especially drugged driving prosecutions, the state relies almost exclusively on the three approved Field Sobriety Tests to establish guilt. So, a Kona DUI lawyer must undermine this evidence in order to successfully resolve the case. That’s also true in Breathalyzer cases. If the defendant does not appear intoxicated in the field tests, many jurors doubt the accuracy of a chemical test.

There is a lot at stake. A DWI might cost up to $25,000 when including direct and indirect expenses. Other losses, such as possible employment and family law effects, are not quantifiable in dollars and cents.

Apropos of nothing, defendants have the right to refuse to perform field tests under the Fifth Amendment. This refusal cannot be used against them in court.

Romberg’s Balance Test

This test, which was developed by German scientist Moritz Romberg in the 1800s, measures balance ability. Subjects must stand straight with their arms extended, their heads back, and their eyes closed. Officers sometimes add additional requirements, such as touching fingertips to the nose.

In some cases, a Kona DUI lawyer might be able to get these results thrown out of court without much effort. The Romberg test, although it is a staple of many police stops, is not approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Since it has no scientific basis, it is arguably useless in court as a way to determine intoxication.

In other cases, however, it might be better to allow prosecutors to introduce these test results. Essentially, that’s like giving them enough rope to hang themselves. Many officers, and many Kona DUI lawyers as well, are unfamiliar with the test’s theory. Romberg’s Test deprives the subject of the three things needed for balance, which are:

  • Vestibular function (knowing the position of one’s head in space),
  • Proprioception (knowing one’s body position), and
  • Vision.

If an officer cannot adequately explain these complex concepts to jurors, they often get the idea that the state is manufacturing evidence against the defendant.

Kona DUI Lawyers and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test

The DUI eye test does not have much scientific basis either. This test does accurately detect nystagmus, a condition also known as lazy eye. But intoxication is not the only cause, or even the leading cause, of nystagmus. IN fact, many people have a lazy eye. They just do not know it, since the symptoms are so mild. So, many people could not pass an HGN test whether they were drunk or sober.

Additionally, roadside HGN test conditions are uncontrolled. Squad car lights flash in the background, and cars whiz by at high speeds. Most officers fail to account for these variables when they score the test.

Because of these deficiencies, many Hawaii County judges only admit HGN test results for limited purposes. If that happens, Kona DUI lawyers might only need to worry about the last two. Anda again, a lawyer only needs to create reasonable doubt.

The Walk and Turn Test

The heel-to-toe walk test also suffers from a number of environmental problems. Footwear is one example. Obviously, it’s almost impossible to walk heel to toe in flip flops, heels, or cowboy boots. Officers usually give these defendants the option to remove these shoes. Unfortunately, it’s just as difficult to walk heel to toe barefoot.

During this test, which usually involves walking about fifteen steps heel to toe forward and backward, officers look for a number of intoxication clues, such as:

  • Beginning the test before the officer says “start,”
  • Leading with the wrong foot,
  • Stumbling,
  • Swaying,
  • Taking the incorrect number of steps,
  • Using arms or hands for balance, and
  • Ending the test before the officer says “stop.”

Nearly everyone “fails” this test, because no one can do all these things flawlessly. Fortunately, the officer’s conclusion is only an opinion. Jurors decide for themselves whether the defendant passed or failed, and their conclusion is the only one that counts.

The One Leg Stand Test

By the time defendants get to the OLS, they are mentally and physically fatigued. However, officers usually never account for this fatigue when they score the test.

Much like the WAT, the OLS is a divided attention test that measures physical dexterity and mental alertness. If the defendant has any mobility impairments, it’s nearly impossible to stand on one leg for more than a few seconds.

Tests for Highly Intoxicated DUI

As FSTs are subjective, the prosecution has a difficult time proving a defendant qualifies for highly intoxicated DUI without a breathalyzer- or blood test. However, these tests also involve subjectivity and margins for error. As a result, a Kona DUI attorney can often negotiate a lower charge or win a dismissal. The standards for highly intoxicated DUI are as follows:

  • .15 or more grams of alcohol per 100 millimeters of a person’s blood
  • .15 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath

Defending against a highly intoxicated DUI charge is extremely important. Defendants face mandatory time in jail plus up to three years of license revocation. A Kona DUI lawyer can get highly intoxicated DUI charges reduced or dismissed, resulting in no jail time and shorter or no revocation.

Our Skilled Kona DUI Attorneys Will Protect Your Rights

DUI charges can be difficult to defend as they are based on the first-hand observations of a police officer and determined, to a great extent, by the results of various field sobriety tests. A DUI charge can result in several penalties that can directly impact your reputation, finances, career, personal life, and more. However, help is at hand. If you or your loved one was involved in a DUI in Kona, seek strong legal representation as soon as possible. Call our experienced Kona DUI attorneys at 808-331-3113 in Kona for legal consultation today!

Can Kona Divorce Lawyers Modify Child Custody Provisions?

In some ways, child custody provisions in a divorce decree are nothing like property division provisions. Unless there is clear evidence of fraud or other misconduct, judges hardly ever revisit matters like retirement account division and ownership of the marital home. That’s especially true of both parties had their own Kona divorce lawyers.

Child custody, alimony, and child support provisions, on the other hand, are snapshot provisions. They reflect the circumstances at that particular time, and these circumstances often change radically.

Section 571-46 of the Hawaii Code controls both original child custody determinations and subsequent modifications. Essentially, parenting time divisions must reflect the best interests of the children and not the preferences of the children or the best interests of the parents. These concepts are a bit nebulous, so there are a number of factors to consider as well.

Onset or Removal of Disability

Physical, mental, behavioral, emotional, and other disabilities come and go at a very high rate. So, the onset or removal of disability is one of the most frequent modifications that Kona divorce lawyers deal with.

Physical disabilities usually involve either a chronic illness, like cancer, or an extremely serious injury, like the loss of a leg. If the disability is permanent, it could affect the parent’s energy level and change the amount of time the parent can devote to parenting.

Behavioral disabilities are probably the second most common area. Many people struggle with substance abuse or other issues. If they develop addictions, these habits could adversely affect children. Conversely, if parents overcome addictions, more parenting time is usually appropriate. Often, parents in these circumstances must also jump through some hoops, like completing court-ordered classes.

Addictions and other behavioral disabilities often involve emergency modification actions. If there is evidence that the children are in imminent danger, Hawaii County judges often make interim custody changes. These changes are technically temporary until the judge has more evidence, such as a social study. But from a practical standpoint, it is difficult for Kona divorce lawyers to reverse these decisions.

Relocation Can Determine Child Custody Provisions

On the mainland, and especially in the Eastern United States, relocation modifications are often not a major affair. Most major cities are within a few hours’ driving distances of each other.

But when many Hawaiians relocate, they do not move from Oahu to the Big Island. They move across an ocean. Long trips get very tiring, and very expensive, rather quickly. Typically, the visits go from once a month to once every two or three months to once every five or six months. So, before they approve interstate relocations, most Hawaii County judges pay close attention to some key factors, including:

  • Child’s Relationship with Each Parent: If a child has a close relationship with the nonresidential parent, it is not easy for a Kona divorce lawyer to get an interstate modification approved. But if parent and child basically go through the motions during visitations, that’s a different matter.
  • Financial Matters: Significant downsizing could affect the outcome. But it must be incredibly significant.
  • Child’s Preference: This factor is not as high on the list as some people think. As mentioned, the child’s best interests, and not the child’s preferences, are controlling. Additionally, many children do not express a preference. They understandably do not want to choose one parent over the other one.

The nature of the new environment is a factor as well. Does the new home have good schools and good healthcare, and is it safe for children?

Remarriage Is a Consideration

Simply because remarriage is so common, this basis for modification comes up a lot. However, unless the new relationship directly, and adversely, affect the children, remarriage rarely justifies custody modification.

If a parent’s new spouse has a history of domestic abuse, that may be a game-changer. The same thing could apply if the children do not get along well at all with their new step-siblings.

Contact a Dedicated Kona Divorce Attorney

Changed circumstances often serve as the basis for a child custody modification. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Kona divorce lawyer, contact Olson & Sons, L.C. We routinely handle matters in Hawaii County and nearby jurisdictions.