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Wisconsin Alcohol Laws

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Spirits are sold in private retail liquor stores, with beer and wine sold in convenience and grocery stores. Alcohol can be sold in retail stores from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. any day of the week. Local ordinances govern the hours that bars and restaurants may serve alcohol.

Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol

If a minor under the age of 21 years of age is under direct supervision of their parent(s), that individual may consume alcohol in a bar or restaurant. However, individually, a person must be 21 to consume alcohol. Serving in a restaurant that sells alcohol, working as a bartender, and selling spirits, wine, or beer is allowed at age 18.

Open Container Laws

Open container laws mean that previously opened bottles of alcohol may only be carried in the trunk of a vehicle.

BAC Limits

A driver with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) level that is over .08 percent is considered ‘per se intoxicated.’ This means that the state requires no further evidence to prosecute for DUI (driving under the influence).

Wisconsin does not support enhanced penalties for excessive BAC.

A driver under the age of 21 may not have a BAC at all. At anything over .00 percent, the underage driver may be charged with DUI penalties under ‘zero tolerance laws.’


‘Implied consent laws’ require drivers suspected of intoxication to comply with breath, blood, or urine testing. Refusal carries a penalty of up to one year’s license suspension.

Suspension of a driver’s license by the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) is mandatory with DUI conviction. It is six months’ suspension for the first offense, one year for the second conviction, and two years for the third conviction.

Vehicle confiscation for DUI conviction is a penalty possibility in Wisconsin with the third offense. This can be temporary or permanent.

In Wisconsin, the courts can impose installation of an ignition Free Online DUI Case Evaluationinterlock device to the convicted DUI offender’s vehicle at the driver’s expense.

Mandatory alcohol education or treatment for alcohol abuse can be required in Wisconsin in limited circumstances.

DUI is considered a felony after the fifth conviction, and then only if serious bodily injury occurs.