Massachusetts Alcohol Laws
Where to Buy Alcohol
Retail liquor stores sell alcoholic beverages in Massachusetts, rather than state-owned stores. Beer and wine are available in convenience stores and groceries. Alcohol is sold at off-premises licensed stores – meaning alcohol cannot be consumed on the premises – from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with restaurants and bars permitted to serve from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Sales of alcohol cannot begin before noon on Sunday.
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
The legal age for drinking is 21, as it is in all states. However, at 18 years of age an individual may work as a bartender or in a restaurant serving alcohol, and may handle, transport, and sell beer, wine, and spirits in a retail store.
Open Container Laws
Open containers of alcohol are not allowed in vehicles, so previously opened bottles of alcohol must be carried in the trunk of a car.
DUI (driving under the influence) charges will be brought against a driver testing with over .08 percent BAC (blood-alcohol content) level. At this level a driver is considered ‘per se intoxicated,’ and no further evidence is required in court to charge a driver with DUI.
A driver under the age of 21 with a .02 percent BAC or higher is subject to DUI charges.
A driver with a BAC that is .20 percent above the maximum legal level of .08 percent is subject to more severe punishment.
Drivers who refuse to cooperate with a request to take a breathalyzer test are automatically subject to license suspension by the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) for one year for the first offense, two years for the second conviction, and eight years for the third.
‘Implied consent laws,’ which require a driver suspected of driving under the influence to comply with breath, blood, or urine testing for intoxication, carry refusal penalties of driver’s license suspension of up to one year.
Temporary or permanent vehicle confiscation for DUI is a penalty possibility in Massachusetts, usually for repeat offenders. Installation of an ignition interlock device is also a penalty available to the courts, as is mandatory alcohol education and/or treatment.
DUI is considered a felony after the third conviction.