Maryland prohibits public intoxication and public consumption of alcohol outside of designated places, even if you are not operating a vehicle. While there are many laws prohibiting drunk driving, Maryland also has a number of alcohol laws that apply more generally.
Public intoxication in Maryland is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days and a $100 fine. Maryland’s public intoxication law does not necessarily require you to be intoxicated by alcohol, or to be intoxicated at all. One way to violate it is to be intoxicated and endanger another person or property, or cause a disturbance. However, you can also violate Maryland’s law against public intoxication even if you are not intoxicated, if you consume an alcoholic beverage in public and cause a disturbance.
For the purposes of Maryland’s public intoxication laws, in public means just about anywhere other than on private property where the owner allows the consumption.
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Consuming an Alcoholic Beverage in Public
In Maryland, it is unlawful to consume an alcoholic beverage in public. It is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $100.
Open Container in Public
It is unlawful to have an open container of alcohol near a retail establishment or a shopping center in Maryland, unless you are authorized by the owner. This applies even if you are not in or near a car. There are also open container laws pertaining specifically to vehicles. Possessing an open container in these circumstances is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $100.
Open Container in a Vehicle
Possession of an open container of alcohol by an occupant of a vehicle in Maryland is a civil offense carrying a fine of up to $25. It is not a traffic violation or a moving violation, and there are exceptions for passengers of buses, taxicabs, limousines, and the living quarters of a mobile home or recreational vehicle. The law makes people responsible for their own alcohol, in order to ensure that an innocent driver is not charged with an open container of a passenger.