Underage Drinking

Maryland

The policy topics, below, address statues and regulations related to underage drinking and access to alcohol.

Possession is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • private residence
  • AND EITHER parent/guardian OR spouse

Notes:
Maryland's exception includes members of an individual's "immediate family" when the alcoholic beverage is furnished and possessed "in a private residence or within the curtilage of the residence." APIS interprets the phrase “immediate family” as including a spouse. See Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 10-117(c)(1) beginning October 1, 2002, and Md. Ann. Code 1957 art. 27, § 401A(c)(1) prior to October 1, 2002.

Consumption is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • private residence
  • AND EITHER parent/guardian OR spouse

Notes:
Maryland's exception includes members of an individual's "immediate family" when the alcoholic beverage is furnished and consumed "in a private residence or within the curtilage of the residence." APIS interprets the phrase “immediate family” as including a spouse. See Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 10-117(c)(1) beginning October 1, 2002, and Md. Ann. Code 1957 art. 27, § 401A(c)(1) prior to October 1, 2002.

Internal possession is not explicitly prohibited.

Purchase is prohibited and there is NO ALLOWANCE for youth purchase for law enforcement purposes.

Furnishing is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • private residence
  • AND EITHER parent/guardian OR spouse

Notes:
Maryland's exception allows furnishing of alcohol to minors by members of their "immediate family" when the alcoholic beverage is furnished and consumed "in a private residence or within the curtilage of the residence." APIS interprets the phrase “immediate family” as including a spouse. See Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 10-117(c)(1) beginning October 1, 2002, and Md. Ann. Code 1957 art. 27, § 401A(c)(1) prior to October 1, 2002.

  • Beer: 18 for both servers and bartenders
  • Wine: 18 for both servers and bartenders
  • Spirits: 18 for servers and 21 for bartenders

Notes:
Maryland statutes allow for exceptions by specific localities within Maryland that may have more or less restrictive laws on the age to sell or serve alcoholic beverages. Such "local options" are not addressed by APIS.

  • Beer: 18
  • Wine: 18
  • Spirits: 21

Notes:
Maryland statutes allow for exceptions by specific localities within Maryland that may have more or less restrictive laws on the age to sell or serve alcoholic beverages. Such "local options" are not addressed by APIS.

Provision(s) targeting minors:

  • Use of a false ID to obtain alcohol is a criminal offense
  • No driver's license suspension procedure

Provision(s) targeting retailers:

  • Licenses for drivers under age 21 are easily distinguishable from those for drivers age 21 and older
  • Specific affirmative defense - the retailer inspected the false ID and came to a reasonable conclusion based on its appearance that it was valid

Notes:
In Maryland, a licensee or employee of the licensee may not be found guilty of underage furnishing if the person establishes to the satisfaction of the jury or the court sitting as a jury that the person used due caution to establish that the person under 21 years of age was not, in fact, a person under 21 years of age if a nonresident of the State. This constitutes a general affirmative defense under APIS coding. In contrast, if the person is a resident of the State of Maryland, the licensee or employee of the licensee may accept, as proof of a person's age, the person's driver's license or identification card as provided for in the Maryland Vehicle Law. In addition, beginning October 1, 2006, the licensee or employee of the licensee may accept, as proof of a person's age, a United States military identification card. These are examples of a specific affirmative defense under APIS coding. See Md. Ann. Code, Art. 2B, § 12-108(a)(3)(ii)-(iii).

BAC limit: 0.00 - any detectable alcohol in the blood is per se (conclusive) evidence of a violation.

Applies to drivers under age 21.

Keg definition: at least 4 gallons

Prohibited:

  • possessing an unregistered, unlabeled keg - max. fine/jail: $500 (or $1000 if repeat violation)
  • destroying the label on a keg - max. fine/jail: $500 (or $1000 if repeat violation)

Purchaser information collected:

  • purchaser's name and address
  • verified by a government-issued ID

Warning information to purchaser: Not Required

Deposit: not required

Provisions specifically address disposable kegs

Notes:
Although Maryland does not require a retailer to record the number of a keg purchaser's ID, it does require that the purchaser's name and address be recorded as they appear on the purchaser's identification. Effective July 1, 2008, retailers in Prince George's County must also record the purchaser's identification number.

Type(s) of violation leading to driver's license suspension, revocation, or denial:

  • Underage possession
  • Underage consumption

Use/lose penalties apply to minors under age 18

Authority to impose driver's license sanction

  • discretionary

Length of suspension/revocation:

  • Minimum: 30 days
  • Maximum: 90 days

Social host law is not specifically limited to underage drinking parties.

Action by underage guest that triggers violation: Possession Consumption

Property type(s) covered by liability law:

  • Residence
  • Outdoor
  • Other

Standard for hosts' knowledge or action regarding the party: KNOWLEDGE - host must have actual knowledge of the occurrence

Exception(s):

  • Family