I’m fine to drive. I only had a few.
These common excuses reflect two ways that a person can be convicted for drunk driving – officially recognized in Hawai‘i as Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant, §291E-61, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes.
First, if a person drives while their normal mental faculties are impaired by alcohol, they can be convicted of drunk driving.
Second, if they have a concentration of breath/blood alcohol at .08g per 200 litres of breath or 100 milliliters of blood. This is the number that breathalyzers give.
Basically, you can be mentally unimpaired by alcohol, and still be convicted for having .08 or more in your system. On the other hand, if you are that person who gets drunk off a sip of beer, you can be convicted even if you “only” had a sip or the breathalyzer gives a reading below .08.
The worst case scenario involves death of another person. Under Hawai‘i’s Negligent Homicide in the First Degree law, § 707-702.5, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, if you cause the death of another person while negligently operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, you face 10 years in prison – it doesn’t matter how much you had to drink.
Car collisions occur all too often, even when people are sober. The consequences of getting into a crash while there’s alcohol in your system, even if you’re “fine to drive” or “only had a few” can be severe. Take no chances.