Drug Abuse Things To Know

Drug and Alcohol Laws in the State of Hawaii

To keep its citizens safe, Hawaii has a number of drug and alcohol laws. In particular, you cannot operate a motor vehicle while impaired, and you may also face penalties for drug possession. To learn more, take a look at these laws:

DUI Laws in Hawaii

In Hawaii, you can be charged with a DUI if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level over 0.08%. For commercial drivers, the level is just 0.04%. Here are the penalties for drinking and driving in Hawaii:

  • 1st offense: $150 to $1,000 fine and lose license for 90 days.
  • 2nd offense: $500 to 1,500 fine, lose license for 1 year, and 5 to 14 days in jail or 240 hours of community service. 
  • 3rd offense: $500 to $2,500 fine, lose license for 1 to 5 years, and 10 to 30 days in jail. The court can also require you to forfeit your car to the state. 
  • 4th offense: This is a class C felony. Up to 5 years in prison or 10 days in jail, up to five years probation, lose license for at least 1 year, and go to mandatory counseling.

If you have a child under the age of 15 in your car when you get caught drinking and driving, you face an extra $500 fine per child. You also have to spend an extra 48 hours in jail. 

When you get behind the wheel of a car, you automatically consent to being tested for alcohol while driving, and refusing to take the test can lead to serious penalties. For the first refusal, you lose your license for 1 year. For the second refusal, you lose your license for 2 years. And if you refuse a test a third time, you lose your license for 4 years.

Hawaii also has a highly intoxicated charge. This is for people who are driving with a BAC of 1.5% or higher, and the penalties are losing your license for 6 months to 1 year, spending 48 hours to 5 days in jail, and a fine of $150 to $1,000. In some cases, you can substitute community service for jail time. 

Zero Tolerance Laws for Hawaii

Zero tolerance laws apply to drivers under the age of 21. At these ages, you cannot drive with any alcohol in your system. In Hawaii, the official BAC limit for drivers under the age of 21 is 0.02%. 

As of 2020, Hawaii lawmakers are considering expanding zero tolerance laws to all drivers. There were 106 traffic deaths in this state in 2019, and alcohol contributed to many of these accidents. If the proposed law passes, the legal limit will be lowered to 0.05%. 

Is Marijuana Legal in Hawaii?

Hawaii legalized medical marijuana in 2000, but dispensary sales only started in 2018. As of January 11, 2020, marijuana has been decriminalized in the state. You do not face criminal penalties if you have less than 3 grams, but you may face a fine up to $130.

For possessing up to an ounce of marijuana in Hawaii, the penalty is up to 30 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

Drug and Alcohol Related Crimes

The state of Hawaii classifies drugs as schedule 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, and for selling or possessing drugs, the crime varies based on the schedule and amount of the drug. Beyond possession, the following acts are also drug crimes in Hawaii:

  • Promoting dangerous drugs.
  • Endangering the welfare of a minor by letting them take drugs or alcohol.
  • Promoting detrimental drugs.
  • Promoting controlled substances through a minor.
  • Having possession of drugs in a motor vehicle.
  • Promoting controlled substances near schools or public parks.
  • Non-medical use of prescription drugs. 
  • Promoting intoxicating compounds.

Penalties for Drug or Alcohol Abuse in Hawaii

If you have more than an ounce of heroin, morphine, or cocaine or 100 capsules of harmful drugs, you can be charged with a class A felony. The penalty is up to 20 years in prison with no possibility of probation or suspended sentence and a fine of $50,000. 

A class B felony applies if you have 25 or more capsules of a dangerous drug or more than 3.5 grams of meth, heroin, morphine, or cocaine. For this crime, the penalty in Hawaii is up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000. 

The penalties for most drug crimes in this state increase if children are involved. For example, if you manufacture meth in a building where a child under 16 is present, you can be sentenced to 2 extra years in prison.  

If you are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction in Hawaii, don’t wait until you face legal penalties. Get help now. To learn more, reach out to a treatment center in your local area. 


  1. Davis, C. (2020, January 25). After 106 traffic deaths last year, lawmakers push for drastic changes to roadway laws
  2. Hawaii decriminalizes small amounts of marijuana for January 2020. (2019, July 10)
  3. Hawaii drunk driving fines & penalties. (2010, July 7)
  4. Hawaii laws. (n.d.)
  5. House Bill. (n.d.)
  6. Possession of a controlled substance in Hawaii. (2011, April 12)