Underage Drinking

Wisconsin

The policy topics, below, address statues and regulations related to underage drinking and access to alcohol.

Possession is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • parent/guardian
  • OR spouse

Consumption is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • parent/guardian
  • OR spouse

Internal possession is not explicitly prohibited.

Purchase is prohibited, but youth MAY PURCHASE for law enforcement purposes.

Furnishing is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • parent/guardian
  • OR spouse
  • Beer: 18 for both servers and bartenders
  • Wine: 18 for both servers and bartenders
  • Spirits: 18 for both servers and bartenders

Notes:
No person, including a member of the licensee's or permittee's immediate family, other than the licensee, permittee or agent may serve fermented malt or alcohol beverages in any place operated under a Class "A," "Class A," Class "B," "Class B," or "Class C" license or permit unless he or she has an operator's license or is at least 18 years of age and is under the immediate supervision of the licensee, permittee, agent or a person holding an operator's license, who is on the premises at the time of the service. Thus, if an 18-year-old held an operator's license, he or she would not require immediate supervision by a manager or supervisor.

  • Beer: 18
  • Wine: 18
  • Spirits: 18

Notes:
No person, including a member of the licensee's or permittee's immediate family, other than the licensee, permittee or agent may serve fermented malt or alcohol beverages in any place operated under a Class "A," "Class A," Class "B," "Class B," or "Class C" license or permit unless he or she has an operator's license or is at least 18 years of age and is under the immediate supervision of the licensee, permittee, agent or a person holding an operator's license, who is on the premises at the time of the service. Thus, if an 18-year-old held an operator's license he or she would not require immediate supervision by a manager or supervisor.

Provision(s) targeting minors:

  • Use of a false ID to obtain alcohol is a criminal offense
  • No driver's license suspension procedure

Provision(s) targeting suppliers:

  • It is a criminal offense to lend, transfer, or sell a false ID
  • It is a criminal offense to manufacture or distribute a false ID

Provision(s) targeting retailers:

  • Licenses for drivers under age 21 are easily distinguishable from those for drivers age 21 and older
  • Retailers are permitted to seize apparently false IDs
  • Specific affirmative defense - the retailer inspected the false ID and came to a reasonable conclusion based on its appearance that it was valid
  • Retailer has the statutory right to sue a minor who uses a false ID to purchase alcohol for any losses or fines suffered by the retailer as a result of the illegal sale

BAC limit: 0.00 - any detectable alcohol in the blood is per se (conclusive) evidence of a violation.

Applies to drivers under age 21.

Type(s) of violation leading to driver's license suspension, revocation, or denial:

  • Underage purchase
  • Underage possession
  • Underage consumption

Use/lose penalties apply to minors under age 21

Authority to impose driver's license sanction

  • discretionary

Length of suspension/revocation:

  • Minimum: 30 days
  • Maximum: 90 days

Social host law is not specifically limited to underage drinking parties.

Action by underage guest that triggers violation: Consumption

Property type(s) covered by liability law:

  • Residence
  • Outdoor
  • Other

Standard for hosts' knowledge or action regarding the party: KNOWLEDGE - host must have actual knowledge of the occurrence

Preventive action by the host negates the violation (see note).

Notes:
The "preventive action" provision in Wisconsin allows the prosecution to establish guilt by proving that the host failed to take preventive action.