News

Liquor change eyed in Milford

Thursday, October 4, 2012

By KATHY CLEVELAND

Staff Writer

MILFORD – You went out to eat and you’re driving home with a half-empty bottle of wine in the trunk of your car, and you want to bring the bottle to your apartment on the Oval.

Will you break the law if you carry the bottle from your car to your home?

The town’s open container ordinance says you will, although it’s highly unlikely any police officer would ticket you for doing that.

Still, Gary Daniels, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, is trying to modify the ordinance to make sure you are not breaking the law by carrying a bottle on public property, like the sidewalk.

Last week the board held a public hearing on a modified open container ordinance.

Another hearing is scheduled for Oct. 9.

In the meantime Daniels is still working on the law’s wording.

The law does allow selectmen to make exemptions for events like the Pumpkin Festival’s Beer, Wine N’ Spirits Tasting, which is happening this Saturday evening on the Community House lawn, but under ordinary circumstance it is still technically against the law to have an open container in a public place.

Chief Michael Viola researched the open container laws in three other New Hampshire towns, but they all had the same problem, said Daniels – they prohibit carrying alcohol on public property.

Last week the chief said he didn’t think a change in the law was necessary because, he told the board, “If you have an open container and you’re walking to a neighbor’s house, I don’t know any officer who would cite you.”

Daniels said Monday in a phone interview that he understand police can use their discretion, “but if we have an opportunity to make something clear, it’s better.”

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