When it’s legal to drink while under the age of 21

When you’re under the age of 21, getting caught with alcohol can mean you’re in deep trouble. Fortunately, there are some defenses for having alcohol that can protect you and your reputation, so you don’t end up with a misdemeanor on your record.

For instance, if you work in a restaurant that has a liquor license in the state of Maryland, you can legally serve alcohol and possess it, but you aren’t allowed to consume it. As long as you’re in your work environment or performing work duties, you may possess and handle alcohol as necessary.

Another time you’re allowed to have alcohol is if you want to drink in a private residence. For example, if your parents offer you wine with dinner, it’s perfectly legal for you to drink a glass with dinner. The same is true if you’re at a party at home and your family is drinking, offering you some as well.

You may also drink alcohol in religious ceremonies as long as it is a ceremony approved by the state of Maryland. Both the Roman Catholic and Episcopal churches have activities that involve the consumption of alcohol.

If you have had alcohol and are driving afterward, you may be able to defend yourself against a drunk driving charge if you’ve participated in one of the above situations. You typically can have no alcohol in your blood test in Maryland if you’re under 21, but if you can show a genuine reason for a low level of alcohol, then you may be able to have your case dropped or penalties lessened. Our website has more information on protecting yourself against these charges.