HONOLULU (KHON2) — The state is under an emergency proclamation, so certain crimes committed during this time will carry enhanced penalties.
“To send a message from the government and the judiciary, when people continue to do these kind of crimes, there’s a higher degree of penalties that goes along with it,” said Major Samuel Jelsma with the Hawaii Police Department.
Crimes like property damage, theft and burglary now have increased penalties.
Criminal property damage, which originally may be a misdemeanor, is now a Class B felony offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Another crime that falls under a Class B Felony, is assault against an emergency worker, which according to Jelsma, includes any essential worker right now.
Any theft over $300 is also now classified as a felony, which also carries a 10 year sentence and $25,000 fine.
“Normally [to] get a felony you would have to reach [the] $750 threshold, now anything automatically above $300 will bump it up to a theft in the first degree,” said Jelsma.
Breaking into a home during an emergency period could land you behind bars for an extra 10 years and an extra $25,000 fine, making it a total of 20 years behind bars and a $50,000 fine, representative of a Class A felony. Any robbery using force, will also have the same penalty.
“In addition, the police would add on the criminal penalty of, you know, disregarding the mandate to stay in your residence, so you would have that additional charge added on to your rap sheet,” said Jelsma.
Violating the stay at home order could mean up to a year in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both.
“So when somebody commits one of these crimes, it puts that extra burden upon that first responder that takes them away from other pressing duties they would have,” said Jelsma.