Quick Guide to Maine Liquor & Liability Laws
It is a civil violation for any person under the age of 21 to possess liquor or imitation liquor except if it is within the scope of their employment or in their home in the presence of their parent. Fines for illegal possession are as follows:
- 1st Offense $100 to $300;
- 2nd Offense $200 to $500; and
- 3rd or Subsequent Offenses $500.
Youths 17 years or younger are charged with the juvenile crime of illegal possession.
Illegal Transportation of Liquor
No person under the age of 21 shall transport alcoholic beverages in a motor vehicle except in the scope of their employment or at the request of their parent. The penalties for illegal transportation are:
- 1st Offense 30 day license suspension and a fine of no more than $500;
- 2nd Offense 90 day license suspension and a fine of not less than $200;
- 3rd Offense 1 year license suspension and a fine of not less than $400.
The Teen OUI Law (Zero Tolerance)
Any motor vehicle operator under 21 who operates or attempts to operate a motor vehicle with any alcohol in their blood* shall have their license suspended by the Secretary of state for one year. If they have a passenger under 21, an additional 180 day suspension will be imposed. Refusal to be tested will result in suspension of their operator's license for at least 18 months.
*Minors who test .08% or more will be prosecuted for the criminal offense of OUI
Furnishing Liquor to a Minor
Any person who furnishes liquor to a minor, or allows a minor under that person's control, or in any place under that person's control, to possess or consume liquor, may be fined $2,000 and/or sentenced up to one year in jail. If the minor is less than 14 years old, or the violation is a second offense within six years, the minimum penalty is $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.
Furnishing Imitation Liquor to a Minor
Any person who furnishes imitation liquor to a minor, or allows a minor under that person's control to possess, or consume imitation liquor, may be fined up to $500 and/or sentenced to six months in jail.
Illegal Sale of Liquor
Any person who sells liquor in Maine without a license issued by the Bureau of Liquor Enforcement is subject to the following penalties:
- 1st Offense $300 to $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail;
- 2nd Offense $500 to $1,000 fine and up to 60 days in jail;
- 3rd & Subsequent Offenses $1,000 fine and 60 days in jail, not to be suspended. An additional 4 months jail time is possible.
Illegal Possession with Intent to Sell
Any person who possesses liquor with the intent to sell in violation of Maine Liquor Laws may be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to 6 months in jail. The vehicle used may be impounded and subject to forfeiture proceedings.
Maine Liquor Liability Act
The Maine Liquor Liability Act was established to form a legal basis for obtaining compensation for damages as a result of intoxication and related incidents. A nonlicensed, social host (a person who does not hold a Maine Liquor License) can be sued for negligent or reckless conduct.
By definition, negligent conduct is the serving of liquor to a minor or intoxicated person, if the defendant knows or a reasonable and prudent person should have known the person being served is a minor or is visibly intoxicated.
Reckless conduct is the intentional serving of liquor to a person when the server knows the person being served is a minor, or visibly intoxicated, and the defendant consciously disregards the obvious and substantial risk that serving liquor to that person will cause physical harm to the drinker or to others.
Damages may be awarded for property damage, bodily injury, or death caused by the consumption of liquor served by the defendant. The limit on awards is $250,000 plus medical expenses.