Attorney at Law

Household Abuse


Several years ago, Hawaii police officers had discretion on whether or not to make an arrest for Abuse of a Household Member.  Often, a domestic call would result in mere counseling by the officers at the scene.

Now, the government aggressively enforces abuse laws.  If an officer goes to a domestic argument case, and one of the parties complains of pain, or there is visible injuries, someone is getting arrested.  Even if the victim does not want to press charges, the police will make an arrest anyway.  The prosecutor's office will then force the victim to testify against the other party, or will ask the court to put the victim in jail for contempt.

High Bail

Normal bail in misdemeanor cases is $100.  However, if you are arrested for Abuse, expect at least $1000 bail, even for a first time offense.  Although the police initially set the bail, it is often reduced once your attorney argues on your behalf at court.


A first and second conviction for Abuse within a year calls for up to one year in jail.  The first conviction calls for a mandatory 48 hours in jail.  The second calls for 30 days minimum jail.  A third in a year is a class C felony, with up to 5 years in jail.  Bail for felony abuse is usually set at a whopping $11,000.

If convicted for Abuse, you are presumed to be an unfit parent, can never work in a job with a gun (military or police), can never again own a gun, and if you are not a citizen, you may be subject to expedited deportation proceedings.

So if you are arrested for abuse, what’s the good news in all of this?  It is that the police often make arrest with weak facts.  It means that if the prosecutors push the case, and if yours is one of the weak ones, you have a good chance at being acquitted.  You also have the right to a jury trial.  Finally, there are other creative ways to avoid the mandatory jail, like taking a deal on a different type of charge.  

Mr. Burge has represented numerous people for this particular offense.  He also has a special understanding for military or police officers, who usually will get fired after being convicted for Abuse, since they can no longer use a gun.  If you face these type of charges and want additional information, or representation, please call to set up an appointment as soon as possible. 



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