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Law Office of Jason R. Burks

Specializing in Criminal Defense:

  • Felony

  • Drug Offenses


  • Domestic Violence/Abuse

  • Traffic Crime

  • Civil/Family Restraining Orders

If you have been arrested for a crime, you need to protect your rights. The best way to protect those rights is to hire an attorney experienced in defending criminal cases.

The police and the prosecutor are using all of their resources to try to make sure you are convicted. You need an experienced advocate preparing your case and making sure your rights are protected. 

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Criminal offenses that are punishable by up to 6 months of incarceration 

May also be punishable by probationary terms of 6 to 12 months and fines up to $1000

Some common petty misdemeanor offenses include:

  • Harassment

  • Disorderly Conduct

  • Promoting a Detrimental Drug in the 3rd Degree

  • Open Container of Liquor in a Public Park/Street

  • Theft in the 4th Degree

  • Criminal Property Damage in the 3rd Degree

  • DUI

  • Excessive Speeding

  • Reckless Driving

  • Driving Without License


Criminal offenses that carry a maximum possible penalty of 6 months to one year of incarceration as well as possible fines and fees and possible probationary terms

Some common misdemeanor offenses include:

  • Assault in the 3rd Degree

  • Abuse of a Family or Household Member 

  • Theft in the 3rd Degree 

  • Promoting a Detrimental Drug in the 2nd Degree 

  • Violation of a Temporary Restraining Order 

  • Arson in the 4th Degree 

  • Criminal Property Damage in the 3rd Degree 

  • Resisting Arrest 

  • Terroristic Threatening in the 2nd Degree

  • Gambling 

  • Racing

  • DUI

Crimes that will result in a criminal record if you are convicted. DUIs also have a major impact on your insurance premiums and may result in losing you privelege to drive. 

When you are arrested for DUI, it is essential that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. 


DUI cases are some of the most procedurally complicated criminal cases attorneys have to deal with. DUIs have two separate, but related sides which need to be dealt with. First, there is the court process which can result in fines and/or jail time. Second, there is the Administrative Driver's License Revocation Office (ADLRO) which has the power to revoke your license even if you ultimately prevail and are found not guilty in court.


The ADLRO process begins as soon as you are arrested, so it is crucial that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. This way, you can be advised of your rights and options in court AND in the ADLRO process.


Numerous traffic offenses can also carry the potential for jail sentences. 


Driving Without License, No Insurance, Reckless Driving, and Racing on Highways all carry possible jail sentences along with hefty fines.


Convictions for offenses such as Reckless Driving have serious consequences on your license and insurance requirements.


If you are charged with a criminal traffic offense, you should consult with an attorney so you can be aware of all the consequences.


Often times the prosecutor will make you an offer at court which sounds reasonable. While they tell you they will only ask for a small fine, they typically do not mention all the other collateral consequences to your conviction.


I strongly recommend that you consult with an attorney before accepting any plea offers from the prosecutor. Always remember one thing, the prosecutor is NOT looking out for your interests.


In Hawaii, felony offenses fall into three general categories:

Class "A" felonies

  • maximum possible penalty of either 20 yrs or life in prison


Class "B" felonies

  • maximum possible penalty 10 yrs in prison


Class "C" felonies

  • maximum possible penalty 5 yrs in prison

Depending on several different factors including the offense type, the individual's criminal record, and the age of the complainant, an individual charged with a felony may be eligible for probation instead of prison. However, someone placed on probation can still receive a significant amount of jail time as a term of their probation. For a class "C" felony, an individual can usually receive up to one year of jail in addition to probation. For a class "B" felony, an individual can usually receive up to eighteen (18) months of jail in addition to probation. In most class "A" felonies defendants are not eligible for probation at all. For a few types, however, there is a possibility of 2 years of jail in addition to 10 years of probation.

Depending on the type of felony charge and your criminal record, you may also be eligible for deferred acceptance of your plea which would allow you to keep a clean criminal record provided you follow certain conditions imposed by the court. Not all charges are eligible for deferrals. You should ask your attorney whether this option is available for you in your case.

Pre-trial release and bail issues are handled differently between felony and misdemeanor cases. Bail amounts in felony cases are generally set higher. Those who cannot afford to post cash bail can attempt to ask for a reduction of their bail or release without bail by filing a written motion for supervised release with the court. You may also use the services of a bail bondsman who will typically charge you a non-refundable fee in exchange for posting your bail for you.

Felonies may be charged in one of three different ways.  First, the prosecutor may file a complaint in the district court following your arrest. The court will then hold a preliminary hearing at which evidence must be presented by the prosecutor to establish probable cause for the offense(s) for which you are charged. You are entitled to an attorney at this hearing. Second, the prosecutor may seek an indictment from the Grand Jury. The Grand Jury is a proceeding done in secret where the defendant nor his attorney is present. If the Grand Jury finds sufficient evidence for probable cause, it will return an indictment and a judge will issue a Grand Jury bench warrant for your arrest and set a bail amount. Typically, once the warrant is issued, the police will attempt to serve you with the warrant. Third, the prosecutor can proceed via "Information Charging" where a simple affidavit is presented to a judge from which he/she must find probable cause to bring a charge. If the judge finds probable cause based on the affidavit, then an arrest warrant is issued and bail is set. 


If you are charged with a felony offense there are numerous court hearings which you are required to attend. One of the first hearings is the arraignment and plea. At that hearing, your case will be assigned to a trial judge and important deadlines regarding your case will be set. It is imperative that you be represented by an attorney at this hearing so that these important deadlines are not missed. Once a trial week is set, your attorney should begin working towards the best possible outcome for you. Obviously, felony offenses are the most serious of criminal offenses. I recommend consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney as early as possible in the process.

* For more information about criminal law in Hawaii and the various areas of practice we handle, visit the FAQ Blog page.



Jason Burks received his bachelor's degree in International Studies from the University of Missouri in 1996 and his law degree at the University of Hawaii's William S. Richardson School of Law in 1999.  After graduation, Jason served as a law clerk to the Honorable Victoria S. Marks in the First Circuit Court of the State of Hawaii. 

In 2000, Jason accepted a position as a Deputy Public Defender for the State of Hawaii and began his legal career working in the Public Defender’s Hilo office.  Jason transferred to the Honolulu office in 2003 and remained there until 2011.  During his eleven-year career with the Public Defender’s office, he represented indigent criminal defendants in the District, Family and Circuit Courts of Hawaii.  The last six years Jason spent almost exclusively in the Circuit Court representing defendants charged with the most serious of felony offenses. 

One huge advantage of Jason's years at the Public Defender's office is that he has represented Defendants charged with virtually every criminal offense in Hawaii, from traffic and misdemeanor  cases to serious felonies, such as theft, burglary, robbery, internet and white collar crimes, drug trafficking, assault, sexual assault and murder. Experience you cannot get from many other offices. Jason is a member of the National and Hawaii Associations of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL and HACDL). In addition, he has presented lectures dealing with attorney ethics issues at the annual HACDL Criminal Defense Seminar in Las Vegas, NV.

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Sex Crime Extraditon

Special ed. teacher with multiple charges of child sex crimes (2014) *click image to open link*

Gambling Indictment Dismissal

Massive gambling indictment dropped, defense attorneys call for investigation (2014) *click image to open link*

Waimanalo Puppy Mill Case

Waimanalo puppy mill case (2012)


“His recommendations and actions did not fail to get me the justice I deserved. I felt confident with this man by my side, and I believe you will too.” 


—  J. Turner, Client





American Savings Bank Building

1001 Bishop Street

Suite 1330

Honolulu, HI 96813

Email: jason@burkslawhawaii.com
Tel:  (808) 225-4685


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