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Liquor law in Wisconsin

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Drinking Age in Wisconsin

The legal drinking age in Wisconsin is 21 years old. This means that anyone under the age of 21 is not legally allowed to purchase, possess or consume alcohol in the state of Wisconsin.

Below are some key points to note about the drinking age in Wisconsin:

Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA)

The Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) is 21 years old in Wisconsin. This law was enacted in 1984 in order to comply with the federal law which set the national drinking age at 21.

Wisconsin's Underage Drinking Laws

In Wisconsin, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol, possess or attempt to possess alcohol, or consume alcohol in any public place. Additionally, it is illegal for anyone to provide alcohol to someone under the age of 21, or to allow someone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol in their home or on their property.

Penalties for Underage Drinking

The penalties for underage drinking in Wisconsin can be severe. If caught, individuals can face fines, suspension or revocation of their driver's license, and even jail time. Additionally, anyone who provides alcohol to someone under the age of 21 can also face legal consequences.

Exceptions to the Drinking Age

There are a few exceptions to the drinking age in Wisconsin. For example, anyone who is at least 18 years old and is an active member of the United States military may consume alcohol on a military base. Additionally, minors may be allowed to consume alcohol for religious purposes, such as during a religious ceremony.


In summary, the legal drinking age in Wisconsin is 21 years old. Anyone under the age of 21 is not legally permitted to purchase, possess or consume alcohol in the state of Wisconsin. The penalties for underage drinking in Wisconsin can be severe, and there are few exceptions to the drinking age.


Wisconsin is known for its beer and cheese, but it also has some of the strictest laws when it comes to drinking and driving. It's important for residents and visitors alike to understand the laws and consequences surrounding alcohol consumption and driving.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits

In Wisconsin, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. For drivers under the age of 21, the legal limit is .02. Commercial drivers are held to an even stricter limit of .04.

Implied Consent Law

Wisconsin has an implied consent law, which means that if you are pulled over for suspected drunk driving, you are required to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test to determine your BAC. Refusing to take the test can result in a driver's license suspension and potentially other legal consequences.

Penalties for DUI Convictions

The penalties for drunk driving in Wisconsin increase with each conviction. First-time offenders can face fines, license suspension, and mandatory alcohol education classes. Second and subsequent offenses carry more severe penalties, including longer license suspensions, mandatory jail time, and ignition interlock device requirements.

Dram Shop Laws

Wisconsin also has "dram shop" laws, which hold establishments like bars and restaurants liable for serving alcohol to individuals who are visibly intoxicated. This means that if someone leaves a bar and causes an accident due to their intoxication, the establishment that served them could be held responsible.


Drinking and driving is a serious offense in Wisconsin, with strict penalties and consequences. It's important to prioritize safety and responsibility when consuming alcohol, and to make alternative transportation arrangements if necessary. By understanding the state's laws and regulations, residents and visitors can enjoy Wisconsin's famous hospitality while also staying safe on the roads.

Blood Alcohol Concentration in Wisconsin

Blood Alcohol Concentration in Wisconsin

The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for adults in Wisconsin is 0.08%. If a person's BAC level is over the legal limit, they can be charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI).

Here's a breakdown of BAC levels and the corresponding effects on the body:

BAC Level Effects on the Body
0.02% Some loss of judgment, relaxation, slight body warmth, and altered mood
0.05% Exaggerated behavior, impaired judgment, lowered alertness, and a release of inhibition
0.08% Poor muscle coordination, impaired judgment, difficulty detecting danger, and a reduced ability to concentrate
0.10% Slurred speech, poor coordination, slowed thinking, and delayed reaction time
0.15% Far less muscle control than normal, vomiting, major loss of balance, and a general lack of physical control

It's important to note that BAC levels can vary depending on a person's weight, gender, metabolism, and whether they've eaten recently. Even if a person's BAC is below the legal limit, they may still experience impaired driving abilities.

If you plan on drinking, it's always a good idea to have a designated driver or plan for alternative transportation.

Open container law in Wisconsin

Open Container Law in Wisconsin

The open container law in Wisconsin prohibits the consumption of alcoholic beverages in public places such as parks, streets, and sidewalks. It is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in a vehicle, whether the driver or passenger is drinking it or not. Below are some key points to keep in mind regarding the open container law in Wisconsin.

What is prohibited?

  • Drinking an alcoholic beverage in a public place
  • Having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle

What are the exceptions?

  • Drinking in a licensed establishment or private property with the owner's permission
  • Transporting unopened containers of alcohol in the trunk or behind the last row of seats in a vehicle
  • Drinking in a vehicle that is not in operation, such as a parked RV or a boat

What are the penalties?

  • Fines ranging from $100 to $500
  • Possible imprisonment for up to 30 days for repeat offenders
  • Possible suspension or revocation of driver's license for up to 6 months for drivers

In conclusion, it is important to be aware of Wisconsin's open container law to avoid any legal consequences. Remember to always drink responsibly and follow the law.

Wisconsin Liquor Sale Open Hours

City Sale Hours
Madison Monday - Saturday: 8am - 9pm
Sunday: 9am - 9pm
Milwaukee Monday - Saturday: 8am - 9pm
Sunday: 9am - 5pm
Green Bay Monday - Saturday: 6am - 9pm
Sunday: 8am - 9pm
Oshkosh Monday - Sunday: 6am - 9pm
La Crosse Monday - Sunday: 6am - 9pm
Eau Claire Monday - Sunday: 6am - 9pm
Appleton Monday - Sunday: 6am - 9pm

If you're an adult in Wisconsin looking to purchase alcohol, it's important to know the sale hours in your city. Liquor sale hours can vary depending on the city, so it's important to check before making a trip to the store.

The table above outlines the liquor sale hours for some of the major cities in Wisconsin. As you can see, most cities allow sales from 6am to 9pm, although some cities have different hours on Sundays.

It's important to note that these hours apply to package liquor sales only. Bars and restaurants may have different hours for on-premises sales, so it's always a good idea to check with your local establishment if you're unsure.

Additionally, it's important to follow all applicable liquor laws in Wisconsin, such as not purchasing alcohol for minors and not drinking and driving. Stay safe and enjoy responsibly!