Hawaii state representative acquitted of DUI

January 11, 2022 GMT

HONOLULU (AP) — A judge on Monday acquitted a Hawaii lawmaker charged with driving under the influence after police saw her driving the wrong way down a major Honolulu thoroughfare.

State Rep. Sharon Har pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence and went to trial. Her trial before a judge began on Dec. 6 and resumed Monday.

After the prosecution rested, her attorney, Howard Luke, sought an acquittal, which he said the judge granted.

Honolulu prosecutors said they are disappointed by the ruling.

The two other charges against Har were dismissed previously, Luke said. A charge of driving the wrong way on a one-way street was dismissed because of a defect in the citation and a charge of no proof of insurance was dismissed because Har wasn’t able to pull it up on her phone when she was pulled over but was later able to prove she had insurance, Luke said.

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The officer who pulled Har over said he saw her driving the wrong way down Beretania Street last year.

Multiple officers at the scene said they smelled alcohol on her breath. They said Har had red glassy eyes and slurred speech. The initial officer to respond said she had great difficulty pulling up a digital copy of her car insurance on her phone, and wasn’t able to show proof of insurance at the scene.

Luke said his client had less than a bottle of light beer at dinner with friends. “She doesn’t really drink,” he said Monday after the ruling.

When standing, she was unsteady on her feet, police said. She declined to take a field sobriety test. She also refused to take a breath test or a blood test.

When officers adjusted Har’s handcuffs, she yelled that she was embarrassed, that her wrists hurt and that “Black Lives Matter.” She told the officers “to hurry up because she needed to call people,” according to an officer.

Har asked officers if he knew who she was as they were driving her to the police station. She told them that she was going to be the next governor “but ‘this’ would mess up her plans.”

Har is a Democrat representing Kapolei and Makakilo in the state House. An attorney, she was first elected to the Legislature in 2006.

“She feels fully exonerated but she’s very much aware that not everyone in the public is going to be accepting of the court’s ruling,” Luke said.

He said she’s eager to get back to work when the Legislature is scheduled to convene next week.