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Steve Silverman
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Maryland Legislature Considers Criminal Liability for Adults Giving Alcohol to Minors

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Maryland personal injury lawyers are closely watching a bill in this season of the Maryland General Assembly which will impose criminal liability on adults providing alcohol to minors. Intended to curb drunk driving, the expected new law will arm personal injury lawyers with a new tool to seek damages for victims of drunk drivers.

The proposed bill will change from a civil violations to a criminal misdemeanor any adult who gives alcohol to a minor. The only exceptions are parents, siblings and religious services. It is expected that the criminalization of the conduct will result in more thorough police investigations when minors are involved in drunk driving. Lawyers expect the police will also focus on the source of the alcohol, particularly when an accident or injury is involved. Adults who supply alcohol to minors my increasingly find themselves as defendants in lawsuits by victims of accidents caused by drunk minors. This is likely part of the legislatures motives to criminalize the now civil offense.