Confusion Over Wisconsin Drinking Law

Published 09/04 2014 05:13AM

Updated 09/04 2014 07:54AM

GREEN BAY, Wisc. (WFRV) The Brown County Tavern League is reaching out to officials after citations are issued for underage drinking.

According to Brown County Tavern League President Sue Robinson, it's a battle they've been fighting for years. 

"We've been going in a circle around the county for a good 10-15 years now. Where the question gets confused, people will think between the age of 18 and 21 these people can't enter with their parents because they're now an adult. That's not the case and I think how it gets confused is people are not looking up the definitions."

Robinson pointed to Wisconsin State Statute which says anyone underage is allowed inside a bar with their parent, legal guardian or spouse of legal age and can consume alcohol. The statute clearly defines "underage" as anyone under 21. 

According to Robinson, even law enforcement is getting the definition confused. She says citations are being issued for underage drinking in bars, when that just shouldn't be. People are paying the fines without knowing their legal right.

"If you don't want to serve those people under 21, you surely don't have to. But if you want to, you can. I hate to see our courts tied up with tickets that shouldn't have even been written and people wasting time away from work fighting these tickets. It just needs to be corrected."

Even further confusion came recently when a local law enforcement agency held a seminar to educate people on the law and gave out inaccurate information. Robinson says the state had to step in to correct the problem. 

Wisconsin does not have a minimum drinking age. That means even if a 5-year-old goes in the bar with his/her parent or legal guardian, he/she can also drink. The bar owner, of course, always has the right to refusal.  

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