When is underage drinking not a crime in Maryland?

| Jul 3, 2020 | Underage Drinking

Most teenagers know what the legal drinking age is in Maryland. In some cases, the taboo of underage drinking is one of the allures for people below the age of 21 to partake. But this is a dangerous decision that can have awful effects, especially if they are combined with driving or other potentially hazardous activities.

  • Is anyone who is drinking below the age of 21 breaking the law?

Although this law covers nearly all instances of underage drinking, there are some exceptions in Maryland law that may be a defense in court. These exceptions largely have to do with larger legal issues like freedom of speech and religion.

  • How is freedom of religion part of underage drinking law?

Several religious ceremonies, such as communion in Catholicism or the seder meal in Judaism, involve small amounts of alcohol usually in the form of wine. Maryland recognizes these rights and allows alcohol consumption for minors as part of these ceremonies as long as they are supervised.

  • What other exceptions exist?

Parents have the right to allow children to consume alcohol on their private premises and without exposing children to dangers while possibly intoxicated. If a minor is employed where alcohol is handled, he or she is allowed to handle it within the limits of their job duties without consuming any of it.

  • Who can help with underage drinking charges?

An attorney can always help investigate charges made by Maryland authorities and work with them to get underage drinking charges reduced or dismissed. A lawyer can also represent a minor in court if the matter gets that far.