Kansas Alcohol Laws: Would Carry Nation Approve?

Background of Kansas Alcohol Laws

kansas alcohol laws
Vern Miller

Kansas alcohol laws prohibited the sale of alcohol from 1881 to 1948. During 1971-1976, Kansas Attorney General Vern Miller raided Amtrak trains. He did so to stop them from selling alcohol. He also prohibited airlines from serving alcoholic beverages in airspace over the state.

Miller insisted that “Kansas goes all the way up and all the way down.” His legal opinion received wide ridicule in legal circles. Kansas continued to prohibit the sale of alcohol for consumption on-premises until 1987.

Kansas has never ratified the Twenty-First Amendment that ended National Prohibition (1920-1933). That is, Repeal.

kansas alcohol laws
Carry A. Nation

Kansas is closely associated with Carry A. Nation. It was in Kansas that she began using her hatchet to destroy bars. She also destroyed pharmacies that legally sold alcohol by doctors’ prescription.

Yet Carry Nation died over a century ago. Much has changed. However, would she be pleased with Kansas alcohol laws today? You be the judge.

           Overview

I.   Minimum Age Laws
II.  More Kansas Alcohol                  Laws
III. Resources
IV. Get Legal Advice

I. Minimum Age Laws

Young people often want to work part-time. And hospitality has many jobs. So youths need to know the age for working with alcohol.

How old must one be to serve alcohol in a venue for drinking on site? To tend bar? To sell alcohol for consumption elsewhere?

Adults aged 18 or older may be servers in venues that sell alcohol for consumption on-site. But a manager or supervisor must be present. Employees must be at least 21 to work as bartenders.

Only liquor stores may sell wine, spirits and beer with over 3.2% ABW. That’s alcohol by weight. Employees at such stores must be at least 21. However, they may sell near beer at other venues if they are adults. That is, if they are 18 or older.”

Kansas alcohol laws permit persons under age 21 to drink “near beer.”1 However, the young person’s parent or legal guardian must provide the beverage. But there are no state restrictions about where people may consume the near beer.

No one under age 21 may legally purchase any alcohol. That includes near beer. And any use of a false ID to obtain alcoholic beverage is a criminal offense. Furthermore, even lending, transferring, or selling a false ID is a criminal act in Kansas.

It’s also illegal for anyone under age 21 to drive with 0.02% or more alcohol in their blood.

II. More Kansas Alcohol Laws

Selling & Buying Alcohol

kansas alcohol lawsOnly licensed liquor stores may sell alcohol for consumption off-premises. Grocery stores and gas stations may sell near beer.

Retailers may not sell alcoholic beverage between 11:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. Nor may they sell it on Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas.

Some counties permit the sale of alcohol for consumption on-premises. Retailers may then sell beer, wine, and spirits any day of the week. However, they may not sell between 2 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Bars may now offer happy-hour specials. But they may not

  • Offer free drinks.
  • Have “All you can drink” specials.
  • Offer drinks as prizes.

Farm wineries may offer samples and sell bottles their wine their farms and special events. Similarly, microdistilleries may offer free samples and sell bottles of their spirits at the distillery.

It’s illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under 21. It’s also illegal for such persons to buy or try to buy alcohol. However, it’s legal for those under 21 to try to buy alcohol for police entrapment of clerks or servers.

Possessing an unregistered, unlabeled beer keg is also illegal. The penalty is imprisonment for up to six months and a fine up to $1,000. Destroying the label on a keg is also illegal. Violations carry the same penalty.

Dry Counties

Many counties in Kansas are dry or they have very restrictive alcohol laws. Often, retailers can only sell “near beer.” That’s beer with alcohol content of 3.2% or less.

1 Barber
2 Chautauqua
3 Cherokee
4 Clark
5 Clay
6 Comanche
7 Doniphan
8 Elk
9 Gove
10 Grant
11 Greeley
12 Hamilton
13 Harper
14 Haskell
15 Jewell
16 Kiowa
17 Lane
18 Logan
19 Meade
20 Morton
21 Osborne
22 Ottawa
23 Rice
24 Scott
25 Sheridan
26 Stafford
27 Stanton
28 Stevens
29 Wallace
30 Wichita
31 Woodson

Discover more at Dry Counties. Perhaps Carry Nation would be happy with the laws after all.

Driving and Alcohol

kansas alcohol lawsKansas alcohol laws prohibit driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. For commercial drivers, it’s 0.04% or higher. And for those under 21, including adults, it’s 0.02%. These offenses are driving under the influence (DUI).

First Offense Penalties

  • Jail for 48 hours.
  • Community service of 100 hours.
  • Fine of $750 to $1,000 plus court costs.
  • Taking safety education or a drug and alcohol evaluation at offender’s expense.
  • License suspension for 30 days.
  • After suspension, ignition interlock device (IID) required for 180 days. Offender pays for installation, maintenance, and monitoring.

Second Offense Penalties

  • Jail for from five days to one year.
  • Jail followed by supervised probation for one year.
  • Fine of $1,250 to $1,750 plus court costs and probation fees.
  • Taking alcohol and drug treatment program at offender’s expense.
  • License suspension for one year.
  • After suspension, IID required for one year. Offender pays for installation, maintenance, and monitoring.

Third Offense Penalties

  • Jail for 90 days to one year.
  • Jail followed by supervised probation for one year.
  • Fine of $1,750 to $2,500 plus court costs and probation fees.
  • Taking alcohol and drug treatment program at offender’s expense.
  • License suspension for one year.
  • After suspension, IID required for two years. Offender pays for installation, maintenance, and monitoring.

Fourth Offense Penalties

  • Jail for 90 days to one year.
  • Jail followed by supervised probation for one year.
  • Fine of $2,500 plus court costs and probation fees.
  • Taking alcohol and drug treatment program at offender’s expense.
  • License suspension for one year.
  • After suspension, IID required for three years. Offender pays for installation, maintenance, and monitoring.

Fifth Offense Penalties

  • Jail for 90 days to one year.
  • Jail followed by supervised probation for one year.
  • Fine of $2,500 plus court costs and probation fees.
  • License suspension for one year.
  • After suspension, IID required for ten years. Offender pays for installation, maintenance, and monitoring.

Driver Rights

All drivers have a U.S. Constitutional right to refuse chemical alcohol or drug tests. Until recently, Kansas punished as criminals drivers who used their right.

However, the Kansas Supreme Court held that doing so violated their Constitutional right. Learn more at Kansas Supreme Court: Law Making It a Crime to Refuse DUI Chemical Testing Is Unconstitutional.

The state continues to punish drivers who use their right. But they continue to do it administratively, not criminally. That is, Kansas still suspends their driving licenses. But it can no longer jail people for using their Fourth Amendment right.

On the other hand, there is no legal penalty for declining to take a field sobriety test. These are highly unreliable. For example, 30% of completely sober people fail the test. That is, about one of three people with zero BAC (0.00%) fail.

When an officer pulls a driver over for suspected DUI, the driver is a crime suspect. Police have ways to talk drivers into taking field sobriety tests. And it’s completely legal for policer to lie to a suspect.

So don’t be a sucker and fall for it. Police also often falsely say that the law requires drivers to take the test. But no law in any state requires it.

Remember that an officer is never a friend or ally of a crime suspect. To the contrary, the officer wants to arrest the suspect. And to do so will deceive the driver.

Lawyers strongly advise drivers to never, ever take a field sobriety test. They say to politely refuse. And to do so as long as necessary.

Discover much more at Never Take a Field Sobriety Test Say DUI Lawyers.

Boating and Alcohol

kansas alcohol lawsKansas alcohol laws prohibit operating or attempting to operate any boat under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Specifically, it’s illegal operate a boat with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. That’s an objective number. It’s also illegal to operate with alcohol and/or drugs such they can’t operate safely. Of course, that’s very subjective.

It is also illegal to water ski or tube under the influence. Penalties for Boating Under the Influence (BUI) include fines up to $500 and imprisonment of up to one year.

Using the right not to submit to a chemical test results in these punishments.

  • No boating for three months.
  • Boater education program for which boater pays.
  • Fines up to $500.

It’s legal to possess and consume alcohol on a boat. But an intoxicated operator who lets anyone under 12 drive the boat is guilty of BUI. The same is true of letting anyone born after 12/31/1988 who hasn’t completed a boater safety course drive it.

III. Resources on Kansas Alcohol Laws

IV. Get Legal Advice about Drinking Laws in Kansas

Laws about alcohol change. So do legal interpretations. Law is always in flux. Kansas alcohol laws, as those of all states, can be confusing. Because of that, never rely on this site. Nor on any other site.

Always get information or advice about Kansas alcohol laws from an expert. That would be a lawyer holding a license in the state.

Reference for Kansas Alcohol Laws

1. Kan. Stat. Ann. s. 41-2701 and Kan. Stat. Ann. s. 41-727.