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Bartender Faces Charges in Texas

Texas bartender charged for serving alcohol to an intoxicated person

A Texas bartender was arrested last week and was charged with a misdemeanor for selling alcohol to an intoxicated person.  Is there a similar statute in Wisconsin?  Read on to learn about a similar crime in Wisconsin and what penalties you face if convicted.

Over-serving leads to mass shooting?

The bartender, Lindsey Glass, is accused of violating Texas’s “sale to certain persons” law.  This law prohibits the sale of alcohol to an intoxicated person.  While there are certainly countless bartenders who may violate this law on a nightly basis, Ms. Glass is facing this charge because the guy she “over served” left the bar and proceeded to kill 8 people.  Once Spencer Hight left the bar, he went to the home of his estranged wife.  While there, he killed her and seven others.  Hight was later killed by police.  It was determined that his blood alcohol level was .33%, which is more than four times the legal limit.

Police allege that Glass should have known Hight was intoxicated.  Hight’s behavior, which included spinning a knife on the bar and displaying a handgun, should have also alerted her that he was intoxicated.  Glass did take steps to prevent Hight from driving, and she even went to the home prior to the shooting and called 911.  Under Texas law, Glass faces a $500 fine and up to one year in prison.

What if you’re a bartender in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin has a similar law which prohibits a bartender from serving alcohol to an intoxicated person.  Located in Wis. Stat. Sec. 125.07(2), the law states that “No person may procure for, sell, dispense or give away alcohol beverages to a person who is intoxicated.”  Further, a person who violates this statute shall be fined between $100 and $500 and/or imprisoned for not more than 60 days.

The reality of this statute is that it is rarely prosecuted.  A quick search of CCAP shows that there have been only six cases filed in the entire state of Wisconsin since 2010 which charged a bartender with selling alcohol to an intoxicated person.  Only two of those resulted in convictions, and none resulted in the defendant serving any jail time.

This specific charge is difficult to prosecute.  The state would have to show that the bartender knew the person was intoxicated, and “intoxication” itself can be hard to define.  For example, you can have a person who is under the legal limit and appear intoxicated.  Or you can have a person who is acting normal and have a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit.  But regardless of how often it is actually prosecuted, if you are a bartender in Wisconsin, you need to be aware that serving alcohol to someone who is intoxicated is a crime and can result in the possibility of serving time in jail.

Meyer Van Severen defends all criminal and drunk driving cases throughout Wisconsin

If you are a bartender and have any questions related to this charge, do not hesitate to contact one of our three award-winning criminal defense attorneys.  Criminal charges have significant consequences beyond a jail sentence and a fine.  Call us today!  We can be reached 24/7 at (414) 270-0202.