Hawaii Drunk Driving Laws

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Hawaii?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .04 percent or greater. Under Hawaii law, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
  • It is unlawful for a person under 21 to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in Hawaii

  • A first-time DUI offender will be sentenced to one or more of the following: a term of imprisonment of not less than 48 hours and not more than five days; a fine ranging from $150 to $1,000; and/or 72 hours of community service work. In addition, first-time offenders must complete a 14-hour minimum substance abuse rehabilitation program. They will also have to pay a $25 surcharge to be deposited into the neurotrauma special fund. The driver’s license suspension period is 90 days.
  • A person who commits a second offense within five years of the first offense will be sentenced to either five to 14 days in prison or at least 42 hours of community service work. Additionally, the offender will be fined between $500 and $1,500. The offender will also have to pay a $25 surcharge to be deposited in the neurotrauma special fund. The driver’s license suspension period is one year.
  • A person who commits a third offense within five years of the two prior convictions will be sentenced to 10 to 30 days in prison and will be fined between $500 and $2,500. The driver’s license revocation period is one to five years. In addition, the offender’s vehicle will be subject to forfeiture.
  • A person who commits a fourth offense within 10 years is considered a “habitual operator of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.” Habitual offenders face up to five years in prison or a five-year term of probation. If a judge orders probation, the offender’s driver’s license will be revoked for one to five years. The offender’s vehicle will be subject to forfeiture. The offender will also be referred to a certified substance abuse counselor and be required to pay a $25 surcharge to be deposited in the neurotrauma special fund.
  • All persons convicted to DUI in Hawaii will be referred to a driver’s education program for assessment by a certified substance abuse counselor of the offender’s substance abuse or dependence and the need for appropriate treatment.

Additional Penalty for Drunk Drivers Carrying Passengers Under 15

If a person 18 or older is convicted of DUI while a person under 15 was in the vehicle, the offender will be sentenced to an additional mandatory term of imprisonment of 48 hours and will be required to pay an additional mandatory fine of $500.

Penalties for Commercial Drivers

In addition to other penalties associated with Hawaii's DUI laws, a commercial driver who is convicted of DUI while operating any vehicle will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for at least one year. If, however, the offender was driving a commercial vehicle and transporting hazardous materials at the time, he or she will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for at least three years. If a commercial driver commits a second DUI while driving any vehicle, the offender will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for life. A fine of not more than $500 may also be assessed.

Drivers Under 21

A person under 21 who is convicted of driving with any measurable amount of alcohol will be sentenced as follows:

  • For a first violation, the underage offender must attend an alcohol abuse education and counseling program for up to 10 hours. If the offender is under 18, the child’s parent or guardian must also attend. The driver’s license suspension period is 180 days. If the offender is under 18, the suspension is absolute. If the offender is over 18, a judge may order a 30-day absolute suspension, followed by a 150-day license restriction that allows the minor to drive for limited work-related purposes and to participate in alcohol abuse education and treatment programs. The judge may also impose up to 36 hours of community service work or a fine ranging between $50 and $500.
  • For a second violation that occurs within five years of the first, the driver’s license suspension period is one year. The judge may also impose up to 50 hours of community service work or a fine ranging from $300 to $1,000.
  • For a third violation that occurs within five years of the previous violations, the driver’s license revocation period is two years. The judge may also impose up to 100 hours of community service work or a fine between $300 and $1,000.

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What is Hawaii’s Liquor Control Statute?

This statute imposes a duty on tavern keepers to refrain from serving alcohol to minors and to intoxicated persons. Hawaii common law allows a person injured by a tavern customer as a result of intoxication to recover money damages from the tavern that provided the liquor to the minor or to the intoxicated person. The intoxicated person may not recover damages.

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Criminal Penalty for Promoting Liquor to a Minor

Under Hawaii law, it is a petty misdemeanor for a person, including a licensed drinking establishment, to sell or give alcohol to anyone under 21. A violation of this law subjects the offender to a term of imprisonment of up to one year.

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

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Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.

Please note: All of our lawyers are licensed to practice in the state of Pennsylvania. We also have lawyers licensed to practice in Ohio, and West Virginia and we associate with experienced attorneys in other states.

The materials at this web site have been prepared by our Law Firm for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. These materials do not, and are not, intended to constitute legal advice. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. The information provided at this site is subject to change without notice. Although we try to keep our site current and accurate, you should not rely on this information or its applicability to any specific circumstances without speaking with an attorney.
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