Drinking in public could be decriminalized in Maryland

Drinking alcohol

Drinking in public and having an open container in public could be decriminalized this year in Maryland.

The measure sponsored by Sen. Will Smith (D- Montgomery County) was recently approved by the senate.

Currently the crime is a misdemeanor meaning if someone is found guilty it would appear on their criminal record.

If the bill passes the house and is signed into law drinking in public and having an open container would be a civil citation punishable by a fine of up to $100.

The move has gained favor with defense attorneys like Angie DiPietro, who say the bill could help college students from damaging their future employment or schooling options

"Such a small err in judgment, you know to have potentially such a serious impact on their life, if that can be avoided then I think that's a good thing," DiPietro said.

DiPietro adds she believes the possible change in law would also affect those who come down to Ocean City in the summer and get charged with the crime. .

Categories: Local News, Maryland