Haw. Rev. Stat. § 703-300

Current through Act 76 of the 2020 Legislative Session
Section 703-300 - Definitions relating to justification

In this chapter, unless a different meaning is plainly required:

"Believes" means reasonably believes.

"Deadly force" means force which the actor uses with the intent of causing or which the actor knows to create a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily harm. Intentionally firing a firearm in the direction of another person or in the direction which another person is believed to be constitutes deadly force. A threat to cause death or serious bodily injury, by the production of a weapon or otherwise, so long as the actor's intent is limited to creating an apprehension that the actor will use deadly force if necessary, does not constitute deadly force.

"Dwelling" means any building or structure, though movable or temporary, or a portion thereof, which is for the time being a home or place of lodging.

"Force" means any bodily impact, restraint, or confinement, or the threat thereof.

"Unlawful force" means force which is employed without the consent of the person against whom it is directed and the employment of which constitutes an offense or would constitute an offense except for a defense not amounting to a justification to use the force. Assent constitutes consent, within the meaning of this section, whether or not it otherwise is legally effective, except assent to the infliction of death or serious or substantial bodily injury.

HRS § 703-300

L 1972, c 9, pt of §1; am L 1986, c 314, §5; gen ch 1993

Revision Note

Definitions rearranged.


This section provides statutory definitions of terms used repeatedly in this chapter; a discussion of the definitions, when needed or appropriate, is found in the commentary on the section employing the defined terms.


Chapter 703 provides for a defense based on the legal concept of justification. An extended definition of justification is provided in §§ 703-302 through 309. In most instances, the critical factor in determining whether an actor's conduct is justified is the actor's state of mind or belief respecting facts and circumstances. The Legislature changed §300 of the Proposed Draft by adding the definition of "believes". The definition adopts "the reasonable man standard with respect to justification for the use of force in self-protection, in the protection of property, and in the protection of others. It is your Committee's finding that the requirement that a person's belief be 'reasonable' for these defenses to be available will provide an objective basis by which to gauge whether or not the use of force was justified." Conference Committee Report No. 2 (1972).

Substantial evidence of record supported trial court's finding that defendant's use of the knife constituted deadly force. 77 H. 429 (App.), 886 P.2d 766. Subsection (1) cited: 9 H. App. 115,826 P.2d 884.