HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm held a news conference on Tuesday, Jan. 11, to discuss Sharon Har’s acquittal in her DUI case.
On Monday, Har’s case was dismissed following a court hearing, which included testimony by police officers. Alm expressed disappointment in Judge Hartley’s ruling.
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The state lawmaker, who represents Kapolei and Makakilo, was arrested on Feb. 22, 2021 on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol after police said she was going the wrong way on S. Beretania St. near Piikoi St.
Alm said when police told her to pull over into a nearby parking lot, she could’ve done it in one sweep but had to reverse multiple times back and forth.
Body cam footage reveals Har refusing to take the sobriety test. Below is an excerpt of that night:
Officer: “I also smell a slight smell of alcohol on your breath. Because of that I’m gonna have my partner ask if you’d like to participate in the standardized sobriety test.”
Har: “I don’t want to.”
Officer: “Let me explain first, let me explain. If you refuse to take the test.”
Har: “Just take me in.”
Officer: “My understanding is you’re refusing to take the field sobriety test.”
Har: “I’m sorry.”
Watch the video of the arrest below:
Har has since apologized for the arrest and said she was battling an upper respiratory illness. She also said she had taken cold medicine with codeine and then had a beer with dinner.
Har gave a tearful apology at the House Chamber on Feb. 24, 2021, days after she was arrested. Her apology, however, raised more questions about the decisions she made that night.
“It’s obvious that that decision coupled with my medication and my long work hours was something that I would regret for the rest of my life,” she said in the video.
On Tuesday, Alm replayed her apology video that was shown at the House Chamber and shared what their investigation revealed.
Alm says that there was testimony that Har actually ordered four beers that night.
“The server testified that she served representative Har’s table that evening and that Ms. Har ordered four Miller Lites in 12-ounce bottles and was seen drinking from them,” said Alm.
Her attorney says Har just took a few sips from three of them and never touched the fourth beer.
“I would say that she never had more than three, four ounces of beer that night,” said attorney Howard Luke.
Alm adds that defense attorneys always ask for acquittal after evidence is laid out as a formality but the judge usually doesn’t grant it. But in this case the judge did.
“In my 16 years as a prosecutor I never lost the case based on a judgment of acquittal or I never got J-A’d as we say. And in my 15 years on the bench I never granted a motion for judgment of acquittal,” said Alm.
Har’s attorney says the judge ruled in her favor because there were inconsistencies in the officers’ testimony, and that bodycam footage does not show that she was impaired.
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“If you have an opportunity look at that video you will see that she very easily walked from her car to the police vehicle waiting to take her to the station without any impediment,” said Luke.