Hawaii Disorderly Conduct Laws

Created by FindLaw's team of attorney writers and editors.

The definition of disorderly conduct varies from state to state. However, most states use the term to criminalize being drunk in public, disturbing the peace, or loitering in certain areas. In Hawaii, disorderly conduct includes various petty annoyances to the public. The table below outlines Hawaii's disorderly conduct law.

Code Section

Hawaii Revised Statutes section 711-1101: Disorderly Conduct

What's Prohibited?

Intending to cause physical inconvenience or alarm to members of the public, or recklessly causing a risk thereof, by:
  • Engaging in fighting, or in violent or tumultuous behavior
  • Making threats
  • Making unreasonable noise
  • Subjecting another person to offensively coarse behavior or abusive language that is likely to provoke a violent response
  • Creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which isn't performed under an authorized license or permit, or
  • Impeding or obstructing (for the purpose of begging or soliciting arms) any person in a pubic place or in any place open to the public

Penalties

Disorderly conduct is a petty misdemeanor if it is the defendant's intention to cause substantial harm or serious inconvenience, or if the defendant persists in disorderly conduct after a reasonable warning or request to desist.

How Much Noise is Unreasonable Noise?

Hawaii's disorderly conduct statute prohibits intentionally causing physical inconvenience or alarm to members of the public (or recklessly causing a risk thereof) by making unreasonable noise. But how much noise is "unreasonable?"

According to the disorderly conduct statute's commentary, noise is unreasonable if, considering the nature and purpose of the person's conduct, the conduct involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a law abiding citizen would follow in the same situation. This analysis also takes into consideration the nature of the location and the time of day or night when the conduct takes place. Noise is also considered to be unreasonable if the offender continues to make noise after a police officer tells him or her that the noise is unreasonable and should be stopped or reduced.

Free Speech

The right to free speech is protected in America's Constitution, however, some types of speech fall outside the bounds of this constitutional protection. Hawaii's disorderly conduct statute makes it illegal to intentionally alarm members of the public by subjecting another person to offensively course behavior or language that is likely to provoke a violent response.

This limitation on speech is only meant to apply to obscene and scatological language, and not to speech that is political or religiously offensive. In this way, Hawaii's disorderly conduct law only limits speech that isn't protected by the Constitution.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information about Hawaii's disorderly conduct laws contact a local criminal defense lawyer.

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