Maine Alcohol Laws and Maine Lobster Laws

Maine alcohol laws cover state residents as well as visitors. The state takes both its alcohol laws and its lobstering laws seriously. It’s much easier to accidentally break an alcohol law than a lobstering law. So it’s more important to learn about Maine alcohol laws than its lobstering laws.

I. Minimum Age Laws


I.   Minimum Age Laws
II.  Alcohol Violations
III. Resources
IV.  Seek Good Advice

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.

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.

maine alcohol lawsPersons of any age below 21 may drink alcohol in private residences if a parent or guardian is present. Many parents serve their offspring alcohol to demystify it and teach moderation.

It is illegal for those under 21 to buy alcohol. Use of a false ID to buy it is a criminal act. It is also a criminal act to sell, lend, or transfer a false ID. 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. Alcohol Violations

Selling Alcohol

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 plus 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’s 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’s ordinances permit beer to be sold all week. However, wine and other alcoholic beverages may only be sold only on Sundays.

There are almost 60 completely dry communities in Maine.

Purchasing Alcohol

maine alcohol lawsIt’s a violation of Maine alcohol laws for anyone under age 21 to buy, or attempt to buy, alcohol. Using a false ID to do so is also a criminal act.

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 t0 $2,000. And the imprisonment is six to 12 months.

Alcohol is not permitted in state parks. It’s illegal to drink in any public place after being told not to do so by a law enforcement officer. Nor is it legal to drink publicly within 200 feet of a sign prohibiting it..

Drinking games are not allowed in bars or restaurants Nor can alcohol be given as a prize.

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.

maine alcohol lawsAnother reason is that many medications contain high levels of alcohol. Some foods do as well. And finally, everyone produces alcohol in their bodies. It’s endogenous ethanol production. 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 includes taxis.

Driver Rights

All drivers have a U.S. Constitutional right to decline to take any chemical BAC test. However, if they do so, Maine punishes them.
It confiscates their driver’s license and may imprison them.

The state punishes those under 21 who use their right with a license suspension for 18 months. It adds six months more if there was a passenger under 21. Penalties increase greatly for additional offenses.

maine alcohol lawsPunishments do not apply to refusing to submit to a field sobriety test. These “tests” are extremely subjective and lack validity. In fact, about one-third of completely sober people fail to pass them. That is, about one of three people with a BAC of 0.00 fail.

Lawyers strongly urge people never to submit to them. Officers learn clever ways to talk people into taking the so-called tests. Then they arrest them when they fail.

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 imprisonment.

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.  Judges can also require alcohol education or treatment for alcohol abuse.

Boating and Alcohol

maine alcohol lawsMaine alcohol laws prohibits operating or attempting to operate a vessel:

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 criminal act and punishable as such.

III. Resources on Maine Alcohol Laws Maine alcohol laws


IV. Seek Good Advice

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 at home. Never rely on this site. Or on any other. Or on relatives or neighbors unless they are lawyers.

maine alcohol lawsGet information or advice on Maine’s alcohol laws from an expert. That’s 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.

P.S. The laws about lobstering are much simpler. If you don’t have a license for lobstering, don’t do it.