The Maryland State Senate approved a measure to increase fines for adults providing alcohol to minors, but rejected the House proposal that would have made doing so a misdemeanor criminal charge.
If the proposal becomes law, maximum civil penalties will increase from $1000 to $2500 for a first offense act of providing alcohol to someone under the legal drinking age of 21, and fines for 2nd or subsequent offenses will rise from $1500 to $5000.
Keeping the offense as a civil penalty was controversial, as lawmakers were clearly torn by the difficulties in balancing the dangers of alcohol use by minors with the practical realities of enforcement and prosecution. One factor in stopping the criminal enhancement was that the criminal charge of “Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor” is still an option for prosecution of serious cases.
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