How does one acquire a Hawai‘i driver’s license? Start an application at DMV.
This seemingly simple task had been an ongoing source of frustration for Patti, as she had made multiple unsuccessful visits to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on Maui. The core issue was missing ID documents from another state. She needed to get those first and get a Hawai‘i State ID before she could even start applying for a driver’s license.
“I found myself at a dead end,” said Patti, a resident of Kihei, Maui. “The DMV would not accept my current ID documentation although they previously did in 2010.”
Patti, who was also battling cancer, was extremely frustrated, worried and anxious. She didn’t know what to do, she said. She lived by herself and had no one to turn to.
Good thing she reached out to Legal Aid.
“She called our intake hotline,” said Paralegal Kim Tiempo, Maui Office. “She’s been trying to get her driver’s license for over a year. She needed a Hawai‘i ID to get her benefits, especially since she is going through cancer. Her Oregon license was also about to expire.”
Kim took swift action, reaching out to the courthouse in Oregon to secure the necessary documents on Patti’s behalf.
“She had to prove who she was,” said Kim. “It was challenging because Patti’s mother had changed Patti’s name and then Patti got married and had another name change. She had to go to court to tell them that she was who she was.”
The process of getting Patti her ID had previously left her feeling disheartened, but with Legal Aid’s intervention, she finally had someone who knew the law and who was also her advocate.
In March 2023, Patti successfully obtained her Hawai‘i ID.
“We helped her prove her identity and this validated who she was,” said Kim. “We just had to know who to write to and we were able to do that for her.”
Patti felt relieved. With her ID, she could apply for a driver’s license. More importantly, she can sign up for public and medical benefits.
“Sadly, she is not well today, but this victory has made her life more stable,” Kim said. “I think her quality of life would not be as good and she probably wouldn't be able to access services if she didn’t have a State ID.”
“Legal Aid helped me with my ‘next steps,’" said Patti. “Kim could not have been more professional in her dealings with me. I sincerely appreciate her assistance in reaching the desired outcome as I had no idea what to do next. It was a pleasure working with her.”