The Legal Drinking Age in Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s Legal Drinking Age

Wisconsin’s drinking age limit is straightforward. However, because each state has its own laws, someone moving here from out of state needs to learn which activities are legal at which ages before assuming anything. The Madison Law Firm of Eisenberg Law Offices is available to answer your questions about Wisconsin’s drinking laws.

The Basic Age: 21

At age 21, you can buy and drink beer, wine, and other types of liquor for yourself and for other adults. You can’t buy alcohol for an unrelated minor.

Under 21 Has Some Exceptions

In general, those under the age of 21 — and this includes people celebrating their 21st birthday the weekend before they actually turn 21 — are not legally allowed to buy and consume alcohol, nor can they be in 21-and-older establishments on their own or with friends, though this is where the exceptions start.

Those under 21 can be in bars if the bars are hosting events with no alcohol, and people age 14 and up can actually work in a licensed bar, but they can’t sell or do anything else with alcohol.

One major exception is if the person under 21 is accompanied by a parent, spouse, or legal guardian. In this case, the under-21 person can be inside a licensed, alcohol-serving bar and can actually drink some alcohol if the bar owner does not object. (Note that restaurants and events like wedding receptions that just happen to have something like beer on the menu are not the same as bars.)

At-Home Drinking

These exceptions change yet again when the under-21 person is at a private home. It is legal for parents, spouses, and guardians to give their children under 21 alcohol. But it is not legal for them to give unrelated under-21 persons alcohol (unless those persons’ parents, guardians, or spouses are present and consenting). In other words, you can’t host a party for your teen and let all the other teens drink. Religious ceremonies have their own exceptions.

If you or a relative are facing charges related to underage drinking or the social host ordinance, contact Eisenberg Law Offices for a consultation. You need smart, skilled representation to help you deal with the legal process.

EISENBERG LAW OFFICES

308 East Washington Avenue Madison,
WI 53703
(608) 256-8356

Eisenberg Law Offices, s.c.

Madison WI Attorneys since 1983

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