Kansas Alcohol Laws: Would Carry Nation Approve?

Background of Kansas Alcohol Laws

Kansas alcohol laws prohibited the sale of alcohol from 1881 to 1948.

kansas alcohol laws
Vern Miller

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 over the state.

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

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

kansas alcohol laws
Carry A. Nation

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

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

                                                              Overview

I.   Minimum Age Laws
II.  Other Kansas Alcohol Laws
III. Resources
IV. 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 drinking elsewhere? People have questions. So we have answers.

Adults may be servers in venues that sell alcohol for drinking on-site. Of course, adults are the age 18 or older. 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. But 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 But the young person’s parent or legal guardian must provide the beverage. But there are no state restrictions about where people may drink 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 crime. Even lending, transferring, or selling a false ID is a crime.

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

II. Other Kansas Alcohol Laws

A. Selling & Buying Alcohol

kansas alcohol lawsOnly licensed liquor stores may sell alcohol for drinking off-premises. Grocery stores and gas stations may sell near beer. That’s beer with alcohol content of 3.2% or less.

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 drinking on-premises. Retailers may then sell beer, wine, and spirits any day of the week. But 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 of their wine at their farms and special events. Also, 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. But 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 jail for up to six months and a fine up to $1,000. And destroying the label on a keg is 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.”  For the list of dry counties in Kansas, visit Dry Counties. Perhaps Carry Nation would be happy with the laws after all.

C. Driving and Alcohol

Kansas 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 for driving under the influence (DUI).

   First Offense Penalties

  • Jail for 48 hours.
  • Community service of 100 hours.
  • Fine of at least $750 plus court costs. But it can be as high as $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. Of course the offender pays costs 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 at least $1,250 plus court costs and probation fees. But it could be as high as $1,750 plus court costs and probation fees.
  • Taking alcohol and drug treatment program. And this is at offender’s expense.
  • License suspension for one year.
  • After suspension, IID required for one year. Again, 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 at least $1,750 plus court costs and probation fees. But it can be as high as $2,500 plus court costs and probation fees.
  • Taking alcohol and drug treatment program. Also at offender’s expense.
  • License suspension for one year.
  • After suspension, IID required for two years. And 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. Again, 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. And 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.

The Kansas Supreme Court held that doing so violated their Constitutional right. Learn more here.

Yet 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.

    Field Sobriety Tests

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 under ideal indoor conditions. That is, about one of three people with zero BAC (0.00%) fail.

Of course, drivers taking the test aren’t taking it under ideal indoor conditions. On the contrary, they’re taking it on an uneven surface with cars rushing by. Police lights are flashing. And it may be at night. And the person is fearful and very nervous. Simply being nervous helps a person fail the test. That’s because carefully following instructions is important to passing it.

     Lawyers’ Advice

For that reason, 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. Of course, always be polite in declining. Yet that may take quite a bit of willpower.

That’s because police want drivers to take these highly subjective tests. They believe that drivers they pull over are guilty. And they want to prove that they are right. So they may say that drivers can prove their innocence by taking the test. But the burden of proof is on the state. And it is the state that must prove a driver is guilty.

Or officers often falsely say that the law requires drivers to take the test if requested. But that is false. In fact, no state requires it. So don’t be a sucker and fall for it.

Always remember an important fact. That’s when officers are investigating, they may legally lie. Again, don’t fall for it. And an officer is never an ally of a crime suspect. And that is what suspected drivers are. In fact, the officer wants to make an arrest.

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

D. Boating and Alcohol

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

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’s 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 operate it.

III. Resources on Kansas Alcohol Laws

IV. Legal Advice: Kansas Alcohol Laws

Laws about alcohol change.  Law is always in flux. Kansas alcohol laws can be confusing. (Those of any state are.) Because of that, never rely on this site. Nor on any site.

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

Footnote

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