By Attorney Carlos Gamino

Providing Alcohol to Minors in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people, you know there are laws against providing alcohol to minors in Wisconsin. But what if you’re a bartender serving a family where the parents consent? What if you’re a parent whose child is hosting a party?

Here’s what you need to know.

Providing Alcohol to Minors in Wisconsin

Wisconsin law prohibits bars and restaurants from serving alcohol to minors, but it also says that people under the age of 21 can “possess and consume” alcoholic beverages if they’re with their parents, guardians or spouses of legal drinking age.

That doesn’t mean bars have to serve a minor in those circumstances, though. The bar can decline to serve minors for any reason.

However, if the minor is not with a parent, guardian or spouse who consents, you cannot provide that person with any alcohol. The minor might get an underage drinking ticket, but the person who provides the alcohol is in violation of the law. In fact, here’s what the law says:

“No person may procure for, sell, dispense or give away any alcohol beverages to any underage person not accompanied by his or her parent, guardian or spouse who has attained the legal drinking age. No licensee or permitee may sell, vend, deal or traffic in alcohol beverage to or with any underage person not accompanied by his or her parent, guardian or spouse who has attained the legal drinking age. No adult may knowingly permit or fail to take action to prevent the illegal consumption of alcohol beverages by an underage person on premises owned by the adult or under the adult’s control.” (There’s an exception for alcoholic beverages used exclusively as part of a religious service, such as communion wine.)

Related: Underage drinking in Wisconsin

If you provide alcohol to an underage person, and that person gets into an accident and injures another person, you could be facing a Class H felony. A Class H felony is serious – the punishment can include up to 3 years in prison with 3 years of extended supervision, as well as fines of up to $10,000.

Related: What are the penalties for underage drinking in Wisconsin?

Have You Been Accused of Providing Alcohol to a Minor?

If you’ve been accused of providing alcohol to a minor in Wisconsin, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 today to schedule your free consultation with an attorney – we’ll answer your questions and develop a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.

Carlos Gamino