Legal Consequences of Underage Involvement with Alcohol
There are many ways for teenagers and young adults to have fun and enjoy being with their friends.
Unfortunately, some minors consider drinking to be an acceptable way to spend their time.
The City of Lawrence Legal Services Department and Police Department have put together this pamphlet of the most commonly asked questions about underage drinking and its consequences under city ordinances in an effort to let people know more about this important issue.
This information is provided as a public service to help prevent the illegal use and abuse of alcohol. The Legal Services Department or Police Department will be glad to answer your questions ÛÓ call (785) 832ÛÒ6195 or (785) 830-7400.
Q & A
Q: What is considered an alcoholic beverage? A: Any alcoholic liquor or cereal malt beverage.
Q:What is considered alcoholic liquor? A: Any alcohol spirits, wine or beer, or any liquid or solid containing alcohol, spirits, wine or beer.
Q: What is a cereal malt beverage? A: Any liquor that is fermented but not distilled that is made from malt or a malt substitute. This does not include any liquor that is more than 3.2 % alcohol by weight.
Q: What restrictions are placed on purchasing alcoholic kegs? A: According to the Keg Registration Act, Kansas state law requires retailers to register the keg numbers and the name, address and driver’s license number of the buyer.
The minimum age in Kansas for legally purchasing, possessing or consuming alcoholic beverage is 21 years of age.
Under the Kansas liquor laws, an “underage personÛ is any individual under the age of 21.
Persons under 21 years of age are also considered to be minors with regard to liquor law violations.
Risks for Minors
The only age group in the United States with a declining life expectancy is young adults between the ages of 15 and 24. The primary causes of death in this group are accidents, suicide and homicide. All of these have a direct relationship with illegal use of alcohol and other drugs.
Consumption of an alcoholic beverage need not occur for an arrest to be made and a citation issued to a minor; the mere possession of an alcoholic beverage is a violation.
Purchase, possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverage are all illegal for minors and are all separate offenses under the law.
A minor may be charged for making an alcoholic beverage available to another minor.
A friend or relative over the age of 21 may be charged with violating the law if they purchase, give, or knowingly make available an alcoholic beverage to a minor.
A minor may be charged with possession for having alcoholic beverage in his or her vehicle, even if the containers are unopened and the minor has not consumed any alcoholic beverage.
A minor may be issued a citation for possession of an alcoholic beverage on private property.
Police officers responding to a complaint at a home or apartment may, under some circumstances, have the right to enter. If they see any illegal activity, such as minors possessing or consuming alcohol, the officers may detain and/or arrest those involved.
If one party in a moving vehicle is consuming alcohol, anyone in the vehicle may be charged.
Anyone who knows or has reasonable cause to know that an open container is present and/or is being transported may be charged, even if no one is drinking.
Reproducing, manufacturing, selling or offering for sale any identification document that has a fictitious name or other false information are all illegal interactions involving fake or altered IDs.
Fake IDs can include — but are not limited to — driversÛª licenses, identification cards, birth certificates, social security cards and employee identification cards. Dealing in false identification documents is a felony.
A minor may be charged for merely possessing an ID other than his/her own.
It is a crime to borrow a friendÛªs or relativeÛªs ID and use it to purchase alcoholic beverage and the person who allowed you to use his or her ID is also guilty of a crime.
A minor who presents a false or altered ID to attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage can be charged with possession of a false or altered ID and also charged with attempting to purchase alcoholic beverage.
If I am arrested for an alcohol violation in the City of Lawrence, what will happen to me in Municipal Court?
For minors under age 18:
If you are convicted for transporting an open container of alcohol, you can be fined up to $200. After the second conviction, the judge can suspend your driver’s license.
If you are convicted for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, you can be fined from $500 to $1000. You may be sentenced to a maximum of 10 days in a juvenile detention center and an alcohol program.
All other violations that involve alcohol and are committed by minors under age 18 are dealt with by the Juvenile Division of Douglas County District Court.
For minors age 18-21:
If you are convicted for transporting an open container of alcohol, you can be sentenced to a six-month jail sentence and be fined up to $200. After the second conviction, the judge can suspend your driver’s license.
If you are convicted for possessing, purchasing or consuming alcohol, you can be fined anywhere from $300 to $500, spend up to 30 days in jail and be required to perform up to 40 hours of community service. You must attend an alcohol program and your license will be automatically suspended for 30 days.
If you are convicted for using a fake ID, you can be fined $300 to $2,500, spend up to a year in jail and be required to perform up to 100 hours of community service.
If you are convicted of possessing an open container or consuming alcohol in public, you can be fined from $50 to $500 and spend up to six months in jail.
After a first conviction of operating under the influence, you can be fined $500 to $1000. You must serve a mandatory 48-hour minimum jail sentence and you must attend an alcohol program. Your license may be revoked.
After a second conviction of operating under the influence, you can be fined $1000 to $1500. You must spend a minimum of 5 days in jail and you must attend an alcohol program.
After a third conviction of operating under the influence, you can be fined from $1500 to $2500 and you must spend at least 90 days in jail. The third conviction is considered a felony.
Conviction of an alcoholic beverage violation could make it more difficult to get a job.
Alcohol conviction may be considered by college officials and employers.