Is It Really Illegal To Have A Beer On Your Porch In Maine?
For those of us who like to end the day with a cold beer (hard seltzer, marg, rum & Coke, etc) this is the time of the year when it is nice to enjoy that beverage while sitting on the deck or porch. The weather is a lot warmer, but not too warm, and the sun does not set until late evening. It is just too nice to not be outside.
But, is it legal to do that? Does it count as drinking in public?
The answer? Sorta'...
*NOTE - We are NOT legal experts. If you are really concerned, reach out to a lawyer or a member of law enforcement
According to the Maine Legislature website, you are not supposed to drink alcoholic beverages within public buildings, in parks, on the sidewalks, etc.
The specific verbiage of the law says that a person is guilty of drinking in public if the person:
drinks liquor in any public place within 200 feet of a notice posted conspicuously in the public place by the owner or authorized person that forbids drinking in the public place or after being forbidden to do so personally by a law enforcement officer, unless the person has been given permission to do so by the owner or authorized person.
So, you can't be walking down the sidewalk chugging a can of beer, but what about sitting outside on your own property?
Based on the way the law is written, it makes it look like you'd have a problem if you were unlucky enough to have one of those NO DRINKING signs (postings) directly in front of your home. For most people who have homes in-town, that would put them in violation. But, how many of those signs are there outside of beaches and parks? Right?
So, it really looks like it would be hard to violate the law if you are having a drink on your front porch or steps.
But, let's be honest, if all you are doing is having a cold beverage on your porch (or front steps), no one is really going to care. Clearly, if you were doing keg stands in your front yard or funneling beers on your front steps, it could be a different situation.
As long as you are respectful of your neighbors, most people are not going to care if you enjoy the evening by having a beer on your porch.