Ocean City mulls making public drinking arrestable

OCEAN CITY — Ocean City’s Town Council is considering making public drinking an arrestable offense.

The Town Council unanimously voted recently to make open container violations a misdemeanor instead of a municipal violation punishable by a $200 fine. Supporters say police need arrest authority to get visitors to take the law more seriously. The offense was downgraded to its current status in 2008.

Police Chief Bernadette DiPino told The Daily Times of Salisbury that if the change passes a second reading in July officers will use discretion in handling open container violations. DiPino says officers will work first to educate citizens and visitors about the law.

Police spokeswoman Jessica Waters says some are not aware of the law and will not be cited or arrested if there is a clear misunderstanding.