Is it illegal to laugh out loud in Hawaii?

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The notion that laughing out loud could be illegal might seem far-fetched, yet it taps into broader discussions about public behavior and local laws in the United States, including Hawaii. This article delves into the specifics of what’s legally permissible in terms of audible expressions of joy, such as laughter, within the state of Hawaii.

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Public Disturbance Laws in Hawaii

Hawaii, like many other states, has laws that govern public order and noise. These laws generally aim to prevent disturbances and maintain public peace. Under Hawaii’s Penal Code, it is not explicitly illegal to laugh out loud. However, circumstances surrounding the laughter could potentially breach specific statutes:

Disorderly Conduct: Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 711-1101 defines disorderly conduct as intentionally causing annoyance or alarm through unreasonable noise and abusive or obscene behavior in public. If someone’s laughter is excessively loud, prolonged, and perceived as disruptive or intended to annoy others, it could potentially be classified under this statute.

Noise Ordinances: Local counties in Hawaii have their own sets of noise ordinances. For example, Honolulu County regulates noise levels and times when excessive noise is prohibited. Laughing out loud late at night or early in the morning in a residential area could, in rare instances, lead to complaints or even enforcement action if it’s deemed a public nuisance.

Freedom of Expression

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects freedom of speech, which includes various forms of expressive conduct. Laughing is generally considered a spontaneous and expressive activity protected under this amendment. Therefore, any law or ordinance attempting to suppress laughter would need to be carefully scrutinized to ensure it doesn’t infringe on constitutional rights.

Practical Enforcement

Practically speaking, enforcing laws against laughing out loud would be challenging. Law enforcement typically prioritizes more severe disturbances, and isolated incidents of laughter are unlikely to attract legal consequences unless they form part of a broader disruptive behavior.


In Hawaii, laughing out loud is not illegal per se, but it could intersect with laws related to public disturbances if it’s excessively loud or intentionally disruptive. Residents and visitors should be mindful of their surroundings and the impact of their behavior on others, especially in quieter, residential neighborhoods.


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