State laws dictate what age individuals must be to get married, enter contracts, take out student loans, or make other legal decisions. Those under the "age of majority," or "minors," are considered incapable of making such decisions in the eyes of the law. The state of Hawaii recognizes the age of majority as age 18. When a minor reaches age 18, they are considered an adult thereafter. State laws also govern a minor's ability to become emancipated from their parents or legal guardians, give consent for medical treatment, purchase and consume alcohol, and other legal matters.
This article provides a brief overview of the legal age statutes in the state of Hawaii.
Hawaii Legal Ages Laws: At a Glance
The specifics of Hawaii's legal age laws are listed in the following table and in the descriptive summary below. See FindLaw's emancipation of minors section for additional articles and resources.
Age of Majority
|18 (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 577-1)
Eligibility for Emancipation
|Legal marriage (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 577-25)
Contracts by Minors
- A minor age 15 or older may enter a contract for life insurance or accident and health or sickness insurance on their own body or for the benefit of their father, mother, spouse, child, brother, sister, or grandparent (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 431:10-203)
- Any action to recover any debt upon any contract or liability shall not commence until the minor reaches age 18 (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 577A-5)
Minors' Ability to Sue
|Guardian ad litem, next friend (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 551-2)
Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment
- Minors may consent to medical care and services if they understand the benefits and risks and give informed consent, the medical care is for the minor's benefit, and the minor is "without support" (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 577D-2)
- For counseling services for alcohol or drug abuse (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 577-26)
- If for pregnancy, venereal disease, or family planning services (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 577A-2)
Legal Age for Alcohol, Tobacco/E-cigarette, and Medical Marijuana Purchase and/or Consumption
|21 (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 712-1250 et seq.)
Note: State laws are always subject o change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Age of Majority in Hawaii
Hawaii's age of majority is 18. When you turn 18, you will gain many of the rights and responsibilities that most other adults have. Some of your new rights include the right to vote, and you will now be able to get credit cards and purchase cigarettes and other regulated items. You will also have new responsibilities because your parents are no longer responsible for your actions. If you cause someone harm, you may be sued to pay for their damages. You may also be called to serve on a jury.
Purchasing Alcohol in Hawaii
Hawaii follows the alcohol laws prescribed by the federal government. If Hawaii did not adhere to these laws, it would lose a lot of federal highway funding. So, like all other states in the union, the minimum age to purchase alcohol in Hawaii is 21. Hawaii, like other states on the mainland, is a zero-tolerance state. This means that if a minor is caught with any amount of alcohol in their system while driving, they get an automatic DUI regardless of the BAC limit of the state for adults 21 and over.
Eligibility for Emancipation in Hawaii
Emancipation is when a person under 18 becomes a legal adult. This can happen in a few ways. One of the most common methods is through a court procedure. Emancipation also occurs when the person enters into a legal marriage, as the Hawaii statute lays out.
Legal Age and Lawsuits
Generally, a person has to be 18 years old to start a lawsuit. If you are not 18, your parent or legal guardian will sue on your behalf. If the lawsuit is over a contract, the terms of the contract might not be enforced against you if you entered into the contract before you turned 18.
Next Step: Speak with a Skilled Lawyer
Whether you are looking to file a lawsuit, become emancipated, or get certain types of healthcare, you'll want to know the law in Hawaii and how it may impact your ability to do any of those things. To learn more about the rights and obligations you have as both a young person and an adult, you should speak with a Hawaii family law attorney.