This page will help you understand Maine alcohol laws and avoid expensive fines or even jail. Not to mention time and embarrassment.
Maine alcohol laws cover state residents as well as visitors. Alcohol laws differ across the country. Even within one state. So visitors might assume the Maine laws are the same at home. However, not knowing a law is no defense in court.
I. Minimum Age Laws
II. More Maine Alcohol Laws
IV. Legal Advice
I. Minimum Age Laws
Many young people hope to work in the summer tourist industry. They want to know the minimum ages for working around alcohol.
For example, the age needed to sell or serve alcohol in restaurants. The age needed to work in a store selling alcohol for drinking off-premised. Or for the age needed to tend bar. People have questions. So we have answers.
Maine alcohol laws permit a person 17 or older be a server in a venue selling alcohol for drinking on-site. They may be a bartender or be a clerk in a store selling alcohol for drinking elsewhere. In all cases, a supervisor must be present. In its age laws, Maine makes no artificial distinctions between beer, wine and spirits.
It is illegal for those under 21 to buy alcohol. Use of a false ID to buy it is a criminal act. It’s also a criminal act to sell, lend, or transfer a false ID. And retailers may seize IDs that appear to be false.
The maximum BAC for drivers under 21 is 0.00%. Having any alcohol in the system when driving is illegal.
II. More Maine Alcohol Laws
A. Selling Alcohol
Under Maine alcohol laws, selling alcohol to anyone under 21 is a crime. It carries carries imprisonment for up to 364 days and fines up to $2,000 plus surcharges.
If the customer drinks and causes serious bodily injury or death of any other person, the penalty is greater. It’s imprisonment for up to five years and a $5,000 fine. In addition, there are surcharges and two years of probation.
It’s also illegal to sell alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person.
Maine is a government monopoly state for the sale of spirits. That is bourbon, rum, vodka, tequila, scotch, etc. It also has a monopoly on the sale of wine with an alcohol content of 15.5% or higher.
However, retail stores with an alcohol license may sell beer and table wine up to 15.5% alcohol.
It’s illegal to sell any alcohol between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. Monday through Friday. The same is true between 1 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Sundays.
Bars and restaurants may only sell two drinks at a time to a customer.
The town of Cambridge permits beer sales all week. However, retailers may only sell wine and spirits on Sundays.
There are almost 60 completely dry communities in Maine. They are listed on Local Option.
B. Buying Alcohol
The penalties for possessing alcohol under 21 are these. First offense is a fine of $100 to $300. A second offense is a fine of $200 to $500. Any more offenses are a fine of $500.
There are also penalties for providing alcohol to anyone under age 21. The fines are $500 to $2,000. And jail is six to 12 months.
Learn about the famous “Maine Law.”
Alcohol is illegal in state parks. It’s also illegal to drink in any public place after a law enforcement officer says not to do so. Nor is it legal to drink publicly within 200 feet of a sign prohibiting it.
It’s not legal to permit drinking games in bars or restaurants. Nor can alcohol be a prize.
C. Driving and Alcohol
Drivers under age 21 who have any alcohol in their blood lose their license for one year. If they have a passenger under 21, the state imposes an extra 180 days to the suspension.
Most states set a limit for those under not at 0.00% but at 0.02%. They do this for several reasons. One is that breathalyzers are not highly accurate. In fact, they don’t test blood alcohol concentration (BAC). They really only estimate it.
Another reason is that many medications contain high levels of alcohol. Some foods do as well. And finally, everyone produces alcohol in their bodies 24/7. So everyone always has blood in their alcohol. Including those under 21.
Drivers under 21 who have alcohol in their vehicle, even if in the trunk, get a 30 day license suspension. There are two exceptions. One, if they’re transporting it as part of their employment. The other is if they are doing so at the request of their parent.
The penalties for a first offense is a 30 day license suspension and a fine of up to $500. For a second, it’s a 90 day license suspension and a fine of at least $200. And for a third, it’s one year license suspension and a fine of at least $400.
No driver or passenger of any age may drink or possess alcohol in a vehicle’s passenger compartment. That also includes taxis.
All drivers have a U.S. Constitutional right to decline to take any chemical BAC test. However, if they do so, Maine punishes them. To do so, it confiscates their driver’s license. In addition, it may imprison them.
The state punishes those under 21 who use their right with a license suspension for 18 months. It also adds six months more if there was a passenger under 21. Penalties increase greatly for additional offenses.
Field Sobriety Tests
Punishments do not apply to refusing to submit to a field sobriety test. These “tests” lack validity. In fact, 30% of completely sober people fail to pass them. That is, about one of three people with a BAC of 0.00% fail.
For this reason, lawyers strongly urge people to never, ever take them. They say to politely refuse. And to do so as long as necessary. So it’s wise to take their advice.
Officers learn clever ways to talk people into taking the so-called tests. Then they arrest them when they fail.
Also, police can legally lie while investigating. So don’t be a sucker.
Learn much more at Never Take a Field Sobriety Test Say DUI Lawyers.
The penalty for possessing an unregistered or unlabeled keg is a fine up to $500. For destroying the label on a keg it’s a fine up to $1,000 and/or six months jail
Penalties for violating Maine alcohol laws about driving can include the required use of an ignition interlock device (IID). An IID prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver’s breath contains alcohol fumes. An IID is very expensive. Needless to say, the offender pays all costs. Judges can also require alcohol education or treatment for alcohol abuse.
D. Boating and Alcohol
Under the influence of alcohol and/ or drugs.
Having a BAC of 0.08 or higher.
If under age 21, having any measurable alcohol in one’s system.
Violating any of these laws is a crime. Thus, it as punishable as such.
III. Resources on Maine Alcohol Laws
- State Code
- Administrative Code
- Legislative Information
- Supreme Court Decisions and Orders
- Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations
- Maine State Bar Association
IV. Advice on Drinking Laws in Maine
Laws often seen simple when they’re not. There are many factors in what is legal and what isn’t. Lawyers spend years learning law.
Don’t try it yourself. So never rely on this site. Nor on any other site. Nor on relatives or neighbors unless they are lawyers. Their advice will be worth what you paid for it. That is, nothing. Even worse, their advice may be wrong. So don’t take the chance.
Get information or advice on Maine’s alcohol laws from an expert. That is a lawyer who holds a license in the state. Alcohol attitudes and enforcement varies across Maine. So it’s a good idea to choose one who practices in the locality of concern.
At this point you now know much more about Maine alcohol laws than most people. So congratulations!