Kauai News

Bill Awaiting Ige’s Signature Would Increase Jail Time For Car Theft

Posted May 14, 2022, 1:26 PM HST

Gov. David Ige is considering signing House Bill No. 1486, HD2, SD1 into law, which would increase the penalty for felony theft of motor vehicles and motorcycles from a maximum five-year prison term to a maximum 10-year prison term.

“We encourage the public to join us in support of the passage of HB 1486, share their concerns about how auto and motorcycle theft has affected our community, and request that Gov. Ige sign this bill into law,” said Hawai‘i Island Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen in a news release issued Friday.

His office sent a letter to Ige urging him to sign it into law.

Currently, most auto and motorcycle thefts are prosecuted as second-degree theft and/or first-degree unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, both of which are only class C felony offenses punishable by a maximum five-year prison term.

HB 1486, introduced by Rep. Greggor Ilagan, State House District 4 representing lower Puna,
establishes the violation as first-degree theft, which is a class B felony offense punishable by 10 years in prison.

In December, the Hawai‘i County Prosecutor’s Office conducted an online legislative initiatives survey. Of those 1,422 who participated in the survey, 1,265, or 89.21%, supported establishing theft of a motor vehicle as a class B felony offense.

Comments can be submitted via the Governor’s website here.