Hawaii Drunk Driving DUI Laws 2023: How Much Alcohol Can You Drink and Drive?

Drink and drive laws in Hawaii

The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Hawaii is 0.08% grams or 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.

The 0.08% restriction is equal to one to two alcoholic drinks in the standard size. Yet, this quantity may vary depending on a person’s gender, weight, and other characteristics.

Please keep in mind that this post is solely intended to provide information about drunk driving in Hawaii. This page does not aim to advocate or promote drunk driving in any way.

Driving while impaired with alcohol or any other substance is prohibited in Hawaii.

Statistics show that there were 85 fatal drunk driving accidents in Hawaii. The numbers may not appear significant, yet 31% of this total was caused by drivers who had blood alcohol concentrations of higher than 0.08%.

To prevent drunk driving, Hawaii has DUI driving regulations. So, adhering to the state’s legal BAC limit is vital before hitting the road. Consider using a designated driver or a taxi if you must travel after drinking.

You can stay updated with the most recent DUI driving laws and regulations by visiting Hawaii’s official website.

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in Hawaii

DUI penalties are imposed in Hawaii if your BAC level is higher than 0.08% and 0.04% or higher for commercial drivers. Driving with any level of alcohol in the system is strictly prohibited for drivers under 21.

Blood alcohol levels may vary between individuals since alcohol has different effects on people. Some may experience disorientation even after drinking a small amount of alcohol.

Your BAC may change depending on some factors, such as

  • weight
  • gender
  • stress and fatigue level
  • prescription drug use
  • an empty stomach
  • the volume of alcohol consumed

For guidance, use a BAC chart or utilize a BAC calculator to figure out how much alcohol you can consume before operating a motor vehicle. Yet, because everybody responds to alcohol differently, these strategies might not be appropriate for everyone.

The most effective method for determining your BAC is still using a reliable alcohol breathalyzer.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in Hawaii

There are different drunk driving regulations in each state. According to a study, a BAC of 0.05% results in considerable impairment and impairs driving abilities. The affected skill areas were reflexes, attention, cognition, and psychomotor skills.

It’s crucial to check your blood alcohol content before driving to avoid punishment. If you drive while impaired, you could face both legal and administrative consequences.

Hawaii’s DUI driving penalties are listed below to guide you.

First Offense

A first-time DUI violator may be penalized with one or more of the following:

  • Jail Time: Minimum of 48 hours and a maximum of 5 days in jail
  • Fines: $150 to $1,000 (plus a $25 surcharge to be deposited into a special fund for neurotrauma)
  • Community Service: 72 hours of community service work
  • Rehabilitation Program: Completion of 14-hour substance abuse rehabilitation program
  • License Suspension: 90-days

Second Offense

If a person commits a second crime within five years after their first, they will receive the following punishment:


  • Jail Time: five to 14 days in prisonĀ 
  • Fines: $500 and $1,500 (plus a $25 surcharge to be deposited into a special fund for neurotrauma)
  • Community Service: minimum of 42 hours of community work
  • License Suspension: One year
  • Rehabilitation program: The offender will also be directed to a licensed substance abuse counselor.


Third Offense

If a person commits a third violation within five years of receiving two prior convictions, they will receive the following punishment:

  • Jail Time: 10 to 30 days in prison
  • Fines: $500 and $2,500 (plus a $25 surcharge to be deposited into a special fund for neurotrauma)
  • License Suspension: one to five years
  • Vehicle Forfeiture: the violator’s vehicle is subject to seizure
  • Rehabilitation program: The offender will also be directed to a licensed substance abuse counselor.

Fourth Offense

An individual is considered a habitual DUI driver after four violations within ten years. They may be subject to the following punishment:

  • Jail Time: Five years imprisonment or a five-year term of probation.
  • License Revocation: If a judge imposes probation, the offender’s license will be suspended for one to five years.
  • Vehicle Forfeiture: The violator’s vehicle will be forfeited.
  • Rehabilitation program: The offender will also be directed to a licensed substance abuse counselor.

Additional Penalty for DUI Drivers Transporting Passengers Under 15

If an adult (18 years or older) is found guilty of DUI while a minor (15 years or under) was in the car, the offender will receive an additional mandatory 48 hours in jail and a $500 fine.

When Can You Drink and Drive in Hawaii?

As mentioned earlier, alcohol affects people differently. Moreover, men and women have different BAC levels.

Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) is a more abundant enzyme in men’s systems than women’s. Since they mainly function to facilitate alcohol absorption, these enzymes are the cause of men’s accelerated alcohol metabolism. Men, therefore, absorb alcohol more quickly than women.

Use the information below as a general reference to determine how much alcohol you can legally consume before operating a motor vehicle in Hawaii.

Although the following information is based on studies, it might not apply to everyone because people metabolize alcohol differently.

How Many Bottles of Beers Can You Drink and Drive in Hawaii?

Drink beer and drive in Hawaii limit

This BAC chart shows that one 12-ounce (350 ml) beer can result in a BAC level of 0.03% for a male weighing around 54 kg (120 lbs).

On the other hand, a woman of equal weight and beer consumption can have a BAC of 0.04%.

BAC charts show that a person with a lower weight can have higher blood alcohol content.

One to two beer bottles are usually enough to stay under Hawaii’s legal BAC limit. One bottle of beer should be sufficient if you operate a commercial vehicle. If you are under 21, it is not advised that you drink alcohol.

How Many Glasses of Wine Can You Consume and Drive in Hawaii?

Up to 12% ABV can be found in a 5-ounce (142 ml) wine. Two glasses of wine will put you within Hawaii’s legal BAC limit.

Drivers of commercial vehicles who have a BAC of 0.04% or higher may be subject to punishment. Therefore, one glass of wine is sufficient to prevent them from exceeding the BAC limit.

Again, it is not recommended for drivers under 21 to consume alcohol.

How Much Whiskey or Vodka Can You Drink and Drive in Hawaii?

A shot of whiskey or vodka has a volume of 44 ml (1.5 oz) and can have up to 40% ABV. Heavy liquor consumption could cause problems if you plan to drive afterward because of their high alcohol level.

If you can’t avoid it, one or two shots of whiskey or vodka should be sufficient. One shot is preferable when operating a commercial vehicle. Hard liquor should not be consumed if you are under 21.

Sticking to Impaired Driving Laws in Hawaii

Drivers must be conscious of the risks of drunk driving.

The smartest and safest decision is to refrain from driving after consuming alcohol. Your blood alcohol content and driving capacity are never assured, even if you’ve only had a few drinks. You may look for other alternative transportation options instead of driving.

If you cannot avoid driving after drinking, be sure your blood alcohol content is within Hawaii’s legal BAC limit. Use a certified alcohol breathalyzer to determine your BAC level accurately.

We also encourage you to check the official website of Hawaii to become familiar with the DUI driving regulations.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.