Kansas Open Container Laws and Ticket Penalties

Learn about the penalties for an open container conviction in Kansas.

Like most other states, Kansas has an open container law that prohibits transporting open containers of alcohol in a motor vehicle. This article explains Kansas's open container restrictions and the violation penalties.

Kansas's Open Container Law

Kansas's open container law generally prohibits transporting an open alcohol container in a vehicle. Here are some of the important details. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 8-1599.)

What's Considered an "Open Container" Under Kansas Law?

An alcoholic beverage is considered to be "open" if it's not in its original unopened container or has a broken seal. So, basically, you can transport a container of alcohol in a vehicle only if it's in its store-bought, sealed condition.

What Parts of a Vehicle Does Kansas's Open Container Law Apply to?

Kansas's open container law applies to all areas of the vehicle that are accessible to a person in the vehicle while the vehicle is in motion. So, if the driver or a passenger can get a hold of it, it shouldn't be there.

Does Kansas's Open Container Law Apply to Everyone in the Vehicle?

Kansas's open container law applies to drivers and vehicle passengers.

Exceptions to Kansas's Open Container Restrictions

Kansas law permits open containers in the locked trunk of a vehicle. The open container law also contains an exception for statutorily authorized RVs and for-hire buses so long as the alcohol isn't accessible to the driver.

Open Container Violation Penalties in Kansas

In many states, an open container violation is just a traffic infraction and carries only a fine. However, in Kansas, an open container violation is a misdemeanor. The penalties for a conviction depend on the circumstances, including whether the person has prior open container violations.

Fines and Jail Time for Kansas Open Container Violations

An open container violation is a misdemeanor in Kansas. A conviction will result in a fine of up to $200 and a maximum of six months in jail. And violators who are under 21 years old will also be required to complete an alcohol and drug evaluation and follow any recommended treatment.

License Suspension for Open Container Violations in Kansas

In addition to the other penalties, a person who receives a second open container conviction within a five-year period faces a one-year license suspension. However, the court does have the discretion to reduce the suspension to a one-year "restricted" license. With a restricted license, the judge gets to dictate the terms—including when and where—under which the licensee is permitted to drive.

Plea Bargaining in Kansas Open Container Cases

If you get charged with possessing an open container in Kansas, it is possible to plea to a lesser charge or to enter into a diversion agreement. However, such plea deals are at the sole discretion of the prosecutor and are not guaranteed. Talk to a criminal defense attorney about your options.

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