Hawaii Open Container Laws and Penalties

Learn about Hawaii’s open container rules and the consequences of a conviction.

Hawaii has laws that prohibit consumption, possession, and storage of open containers of alcohol in a vehicle. This article discusses the specifics of these laws and the penalties you’ll face for a violation.

Consumption and Possession

Hawaii law prohibits any person from consuming or possessing an open container of alcohol in a vehicle. A container is considered open if the seal has been broken or some of the contents have been removed.

This restriction applies to all persons within the car, including the driver and passengers.

A driver who violates the open container or consumption laws faces up to 30 days in jail, a maximum fine of $2,000, and a $250 payment to the Drug Demand Reduction Assessment special fund.

If the violator was a passenger in the vehicle, the conviction carries up to 30 days in jail, a maximum $1,000 fine, and a $250 payment to the Drug Demand Reduction Assessment special fund.

Keeping (Storing) an Open Container of Alcohol

Keeping or storing an alcoholic beverage container in a vehicle that has been opened, had the seal broken, or had some of the contents removed is also illegal in Hawaii. This includes alcohol kept in the glove box, console compartments, and any other area accessible to passengers (except for the trunk).

The alcohol storage law does not apply to RVs, but oddly enough, does prohibit consumption of alcohol at any scenic lookout regardless of vehicle type.

Anyone convicted of an open container storage violation faces up to $1,000 in fines and a $250 payment to the Drug Demand Reduction Assessment special fund.

Exceptions

The prohibitions against passengers possessing, keeping, or consuming alcohol don’t apply to passengers in “for-hire motor vehicles” such as party buses and limousines. These vehicles must be properly registered with the state and have a barrier between passengers and the driver that prevents passengers from being able to pass an alcoholic beverage to the driver.

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