Maine Alcohol Laws
Where to Buy Alcohol
To purchase spirits and wine with an alcohol content over 15.5% in Maine, you must go to state stores, also called ABC stores. Retail stores sell beer and table wine (wine with less than 15.5% alcohol). Alcohol cannot be sold between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. Monday through Friday, or 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Sundays.
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
As in all states, you must be 21 to drink alcohol. However, at 17 you can work as a server in a restaurant that serves alcohol or as a bartender and handle, transport, and sell beer, wine, and spirits. The presence of a supervisor over the age of 21 is required.
Open Container Laws
No one in a vehicle can imbibe alcohol, and previously opened containers of alcohol must be carried in the trunk of the car.
A driver is considered intoxicated with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) level above .08 percent. A driver testing above .08 percent BAC is considered ‘per se intoxicated’ and can be charged with DUI (driving under the influence). Proof of this BAC is all that is needed as evidence in court.
To discourage underage drinking and driving, DUI penalties apply for a driver under the age of 21 who tests for a BAC of any amount - .00 percent or above.
A driver with a particularly high BAC – in Maine it is .15 percent above the legal limit of .08 percent – is subject to harsher penalties. These enhanced penalties also apply to drivers who refuse to cooperate with a request for chemical testing.
‘Implied consent laws’ require drivers to submit to chemical testing (breath, blood, or urine) at the request of a law enforcement officer. Refusing to cooperate could mean mandatory suspension of the driver’s license for up to a year.
In Maine, the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) can suspend a driver’s license for DUI for 90 days for the first DUI conviction; 18 months for the second conviction; and four years for the third offense.
Maine allows the courts to confiscate a driver’s vehicle either permanently or temporarily, a punishment usually reserved for repeat offenders. It involves significant expense for the driver.
An ignition interlock device is another punishment option, which is expensive for the driver. Alcohol education or treatment for alcohol abuse can be required for DUI offenders as well.