Hawaii Alcohol

Hawaii Alcohol Laws: What You Need to Know

The state’s alcohol laws vary from some other states. So it’s very important to know Hawaii’s alcohol laws. Read on to find out more.

If you’re planning to visit or reside in Hawaii and enjoy an alcoholic beverage from time to time, it’s vital that you familiarize yourself with the alcohol laws there. Drinking laws vary from state to state, so the Hawaii alcohol laws may differ from the laws where you live. It’s better to be informed before you go than to find out too late that you are breaking a law.

Hawaii may seem like a different country since it is so far from the mainland United States. It also is a place that conjures up imagery of fun in the sun, drinks on the beach, and a party-all-the-time type of atmosphere. However, it is a state like any other and is the quiet, comfortable home of 1.4 million people of all ages and interests.

Hawaii may be a tropical paradise, but you must behave yourself and follow the state laws like anywhere else. Read on to learn everything you need to know about Hawaii’s alcohol laws, and know before you go.

Hawaii Alcohol Laws

The following categories cover the alcohol laws in our fiftieth state. The information here is not comprehensive, but it should answer most of the questions you have about buying, selling, and consuming alcohol legally in Hawaii.

Drinking Age

It’s assumed that in all states people under the age of 21 cannot drink. However, there are many states and jurisdictions in which minors can drink under certain circumstances. The 21st Amendment allows each state to make its own laws about the consumption of alcohol within its borders.

Currently, there are eleven states that allow minors to consume alcohol for educational purposes and sixteen states that allow it for medical reasons. Just over half of the states in our country permit minors to consume alcohol for religious purposes.

Hawaii allows minors to consume alcohol as long as a parent or guardians serves it to them in a private location such as a home. Many parents choose to serve alcohol to their children during dinner or on special occasions to teach them to be responsible consumers before reaching the legal age.

However, to consume alcohol in a public place such as a bar or restaurant, an individual must be twenty-one years old. Any person drinking alcohol in public should be prepared to produce his or her identification if asked.

Buying Alcohol

In order to purchase alcohol in any setting, the purchaser must be twenty-one or older. If someone younger than twenty-one is caught purchasing, possessing, or consuming an alcoholic beverage, he or she will have his or her driver’s license suspended, revoked, or denied for at least 180 days. For individuals under eighteen, the penalty is at the discretion of the judge.

Selling Alcohol

Grocery stores and convenience stores can sell beer, wine, and spirits until 11 p.m. in most places. Restaurants and bars can serve alcohol until 2 a.m., but if they hold a cabaret license, they can serve until 4 a.m.

There is one exception to these rules, though. Maui County, which includes all of the island of Maui plus a few smaller islands, permits the sale of alcohol twenty-four hours a day.

Serving Alcohol

Tourism makes up a large portion of this island state’s economy. Therefore, there are many positions in the hospitality industry in Hawaii. College students and other young people fill many of these positions.

A server must be at least eighteen years old to sell alcohol on the job. Whether that individual is a waiter or waitress, bartender, or store clerk, he or she can sell alcoholic beverages as long as an of-age manager is present.

Although many people imagine themselves sipping cocktails on the world-famous Waikiki Beach, unfortunately, that’s impossible. Alcohol cannot be served (or consumed on any of Hawaii’s beaches.

Alcohol and Driving

As you might imagine, driving while intoxicated is illegal in Hawaii, just like it is almost everywhere in the world. The penalties for driving under the influence are quite strict.

For individuals over twenty-one, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content higher than 0.08%. Those under twenty-one will be charged with driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content 0.02% or higher. Drivers with a blood alcohol content over 0.15% will receive especially harsh penalties.

A first DUI offense will result in a fine, license revocation for one year, required participation in a court-mandated alcohol abuse program, and up to seventy-two hours of community service.

Second offenses within five years have higher penalties. Again, there will be a fine, and it will be higher than the first. People who are convicted of a second DUI will serve five to thirty days in jail or must perform 240 hours of community service. Further, they will lose their driver’s license for up to two years.

A third conviction in a five year period will result in an even larger fine. In cases like these, community service is no longer an option; the offender will have to spend between ten and thirty days in jail, and will automatically lose his or her license for two years.

Lawsuits that are the result of accidents due to alcohol intoxication are frequent in Hawaii and are taken very seriously. Prosecuting and defending lawsuits of this kind can be complicated, but an experienced attorney can help guide you through the process on either side of the equation.

Alcohol and Boating

Due to the fact that Hawaii is an archipelago, boat culture is a big part of the lives of its residents. Of course, it is illegal to operate a boat while intoxicated.

The boating while under the influence laws are similar to the state’s driving while intoxicated laws. If someone over the age of twenty-one has a blood alcohol level above 0.08%, they will be charged. For people under the age of twenty-one, anything above 0.0% will result in an arrest.

These laws apply not only to boating but to the operation of jet skis, wave runners, water skis, and even surfboards as well. If you’re planning to go in the water, it’s better if you don’t drink any alcohol at all, both for obeyance of the law, and for your own safety.

Safe Travels

Whether you are just visiting Hawaii or if you are planning to live there, it’s crucial that you not only know the Hawaii alcohol laws, but that you follow them. Ignorance of these laws is not a defense. Now that you have learned these laws, you are prepared to enjoy yourself in the Aloha State, safely and legally, too.

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