Teenagers make mistakes, and one of the most common mistakes they make is drinking alcohol before they are legally old enough to do so. People under the legal drinking age of 21 years can find all kinds of ways to get alcohol. If your child is arrested for an alcohol-related charge, it’s important to know the facts.
The legal drinking age in Maryland is 21 years. Possession, consumption, or purchase of alcohol by anyone under 21 is illegal. A first offense can result in a $500 fine. Subsequent offenses can lead to double the penalty. Punishment will depend on whether the individual was a minor at the time. Minors who are caught drinking will be subject to the juvenile justice system. In addition, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .02% or higher.
There are three exceptions to the rule prohibiting minors from possessing or consuming alcohol:
- Employment–an establishment licensed to sell alcohol may employ minors and minors may possess and sell alcohol, but cannot consume it
- Adult Family Members–minors may possess and consume alcohol that has been provided by an adult family member as long as it is consumed in that adult family member’s private residence
- Religious Exception–a minor may possess and consume alcohol as part of a religious ceremony
Fake ID Laws
One of the ways underage people get access to alcohol is through the use of fake IDs. Fake IDs can also land a young person in legal trouble. An individual under 21 who is found with a fake ID can be subject to a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail. This is in addition to potentially having their driver’s license suspended.
Adults who knowingly sell or provide alcohol to someone with a fake ID can also be subject to penalties. The fine for furnishing alcohol to a minor is up to $2,500. The fine may double based on subsequent charges.
Selling fake IDs is also a crime. The penalty for such a charge is up to a $2,000 fine and could possibly lead to up to 2 years in jail. An individual selling fake IDs could also be prosecuted for the federal crime of providing false identification.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or your child has been arrested for underage drinking or using a fake ID, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Contact the lawyers at Alpert Schreyer, LLC or call us at 866-444-6363 for a free consultation today.