Hawaii Revised Statutes (H.R.S.)

Division 5. Crimes and Criminal Proceedings

Title 37. Hawaii Penal Code

Chapter 703

§703-302  Choice of evils.  

(1)  Conduct which the actor believes to be necessary to avoid an imminent harm or evil to the actor or to another is justifiable provided that:

(a)   The harm or evil sought to be avoided by such conduct is greater than that sought to be prevented by the law defining the offense charged; and

(b)   Neither the Code nor other law defining the offense provides exceptions or defenses dealing with the specific situation involved; and

(c)   A legislative purpose to exclude the justification claimed does not otherwise plainly appear.

(2)  When the actor was reckless or negligent in bringing about the situation requiring a choice of harms or evils or in appraising the necessity for the actor’s conduct, the justification afforded by this section is unavailable in a prosecution for any offense for which recklessness or negligence, as the case may be, suffices to establish culpability.

(3)  In a prosecution for escape under section 710-1020 or 710-1021, the defense available under this section is limited to an affirmative defense consisting of the following elements:

(a)   The actor receives a threat, express or implied, of death, substantial bodily injury, or forcible sexual attack;

(b)   Complaint to the proper prison authorities is either impossible under the circumstances or there exists a history of futile complaints;

(c)   Under the circumstances there is no time or opportunity to resort to the courts;

(d)   No force or violence is used against prison personnel or other innocent persons; and

(e)   The actor promptly reports to the proper authorities when the actor has attained a position of safety from the immediate threat.