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Maryland Alcohol Laws

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Maryland does not allow sales of beer or wine in grocery stores or convenience stores. Alcoholic beverages are sold through private retail stores rather than state stores, however, although this rule varies between counties. Montgomery County, for instance, only allows sales of alcohol in ABC or state stores, so you should know your local ordinances. Local laws also determine the hours and days that alcohol may be sold.

Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol

As in all states, you must be 21 years of age to consume alcohol or to handle, transport, or sell alcohol in a liquor store. At age 18, however, an individual may work as a server in a restaurant that sells alcohol and can sell wine and beer in retail stores.

Open Container Laws

No one in a vehicle may consume alcohol or have an open container of alcohol. All previously opened bottles must be stored in the trunk of the vehicle.

BAC Limits

The legal blood-alcohol content (BAC) in Maryland is .08 percent. Over this level, a driver is considered ‘per se intoxicated’ and may be charged with DUI (driving under the influence); no further proof is needed.

Drivers under the age of 21 may be charged with DUI if they are found to have a BAC of .02 percent or higher. This law is to discourage underage drinking and driving.

In many states drivers with exceptionally high BAC receive harsher punishments, but this is not the case in Maryland.


It is a condition of ‘implied consent laws’ that a driver comply with a law officer’s request for chemical testing by breath, blood, or urine. Being uncooperative can gain you a penalty of suspended driving privileges for up to one year.

Free Online DUI Case EvaluationRefusing chemical testingcan mean a mandatory imposed penalty by the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) of 60 days for the first offense and 12 days for the second offense.

Maryland does not uphold the penalty of vehicle confiscation for a driver convicted of DUI, nor is alcohol education an option, but installation of an ignition interlock device is possible.