Open Container charges in Kansas

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What is the Kansas Law on Open Container?

Statute 8-1599: Transportation of liquor in opened containers unlawful

Transportation of liquor in opened containers unlawful; exceptions; penalty; report of prior convictions; city or county not prohibited from enacting comparable ordinance or resolution, requirements.
(a) As used in this section, "alcoholic beverage" means any alcoholic liquor, as defined by K.S.A. 41-102 and amendments thereto, or any cereal malt beverage, as defined by K.S.A. 41-2701 and amendments thereto.
(b) No person shall transport in any vehicle upon a highway or street any alcoholic beaverage unless such beverage is:
(1) In the original unopened package or container, the seal of which has not been broken and from which the original cap, cork or other means of closure has not been removed;
(2) (A) in the locked rear trunk or rear compartment, or any locked outside compartment which is not accessible to any person in the vehicle while it is in motion; or
(B) if a motor vehicle is not equipped with a trunk, behind the last upright seat or in an area not normally occupied by the driver or a passenger; or
(3) in the exclusive possession of a passenger in a vehicle which is a recreational vehicle, as defined by K.S.A. 75-1212 and amendments thereto, or a bus, as defined by K.S.A. 8-1406 and amendments thereto, who is not in the driving compartment of such vehicle or who is in a portion of such vehicle from which the driver is not directly accessible.
(c) Violation of this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $200 or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.
(d) Except as provided in subsection (f) upon conviction or adjudication of a second or subsequent violation of this section, the judge, in addition to any other penalty or disposition ordered pursuant to law, shall suspend the person's driver's license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle on the streets and highways of this state for one year.
(e) Upon suspension of a license pursuant to this section, the court shall require the person to surender the license to the court, which shall transmit the license to the division of motor vehicles of the department of revenue, to be retained until the period of suspension expires. At that time, the licensee may apply to the division for return of the license. If the license has expired, the person may apply for a new license, which shall be issued promptly upon payment of the proper fee and satisfaction of other conditions established by law for obtaining a license unless another suspension or revocation of the person's privilege to operate a motor vehicle is in effect.
(f) As used in this section, "highway" and "street" have the meanings provided by K.S.A. 8-1424 and 8-1473, and amendments thereto.
(g) In lieu of suspending the driver's license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle on the highways of this state of any person convicted of violating this section, as provided in subsection (d), the judge of the court in which such person was convicted may enter an order which places conditions on such person's privilege of operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state, a certified copy of which such person shall be required to carry any time such person is operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state. Any such order shall prescribe the duration of the conditions imposed, which in no event shall be for a period of more than one year for a second violation.
Upon entering an order restricting a person's license hereunder, the judge shall require such person to surrender such person's driver's license to the judge who shall cause it to be transmitted to the division of vehicles, together with a copy of the order. Upon receipt thereof, the division of vehicles shall issue without charge a driver's license which shall indicate on its face that conditions have been imposed on such person's privilege of operating a motor vehicle and that a certified copy of the order imposing such conditions is required to be carried by the person for whom the license was issued any time such person is operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state. If the person convicted is a nonresident, the judge shall cause a copy of the order to be transmitted to the division and the division shall forward a copy of it to the motor vehicle administrator, of such person's state of residence. Such judge shall furnish to any person whose driver's license has had conditions imposed on it under this section a copy of the order, which shall be recognized as a valid Kansas driver's license until such time as the division shall issue the restricted license provided for in this section.
Upon expiration of the period of time for which conditions are imposed pursuant to this subsection, the licensee may apply to the division for the return of the license previously surrendered by such licensee. In the event such license has expired, such person may apply to the division for a new license, which shall be issued immediately by the division upon payment of the proper fee and satisfaction of the other conditions established by law, unless such person's privilege to operate a motor vehicle on the highways of this state has been suspendedor revoked prior thereto. If any person shall violate any of the conditions imposed under this subsection, such person's driver's license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle on the highways of this state shall be revoked for a period of not less than 60 days nor more than one year by the judge of the court in which such person is convicted of violating such conditions.
(h) It shall be an affirmative defense to any prosecution under this section that an occupant of the vehicle other than the defendant was in exclusive possession of alcoholic liquor.
(i) The court shall report to the division every conviction of a violation of this section or of a city ordinance or county resolution that prohibits the acts prohibited by this section. Prior to sentencing under the provisions of this section, the court shall request and shall receive from the division a record of all prior convictions obtained against such person for any violations of any of the motor vehicle laws of this state.
(j) For the purpose of determining whether a conviction is a first, second or subsequent conviction in sentencing under this section:
(1) "Conviction" includes being convicted of a violation of an ordinance of any city, or resolution of any county, which prohibits the acts that this section prohibits;
(2) only convictions occurring in the immediately preceding five years, including prior to the effective date of this act, shall be taken into account, but the court may consider other prior convictions in determining the sentence to be imposed within the limits provided for a first, second or subsequent offender, whichever is applicable; and
(3) it is irrelevant whether an offense occurred before or after conviction for a previous offense.
(k) This section shall not be construed as preventing any city from enacting ordinances, or any county from adopting resolutions, declaring acts prohibited by this section as unlawful or prohibited in such city or county and prescribing penalties for violation thereof, but such ordinance or resolution shall provide for suspension or restriction of driving privileges as provided by this section and the convicting court shall be required to report convictions for violations of such ordinance or resolution as provided by subsection (i).
(l) This section shall be part of and supplemental to the uniform act regulating traffic on highways.

What is the range of punishment for an Open Container Charge?

Fine of $200.00 and up to 12 months in jail.

How can a Criminal Defense Attorney help?

The first thing a criminal defense attorney can do is investigate your case. A criminal defense attorney can listen to your side of the story as well as find out what law enforcement is alleging you did and what evidence they have against you. A criminal defense attorney can then give you an accurate analysis of your case and tell you the strengths and weaknesses of your possible defenses. A criminal defense attorney can act on your behalf to minimize any further damage. A defense attorney can advise you on what you need to do, and what you should not do. A criminal defense attorney can take the heavy load of stress surrounding your criminal charges and bring some solidarity and council to your situation.


Should I defend myself?

You would never think of performing brain surgery on yourself, so why would you ever try to defend yourself in a criminal case. When you are charged with a crime, you need help. Your life, liberty, and reputation are on the line and you need to defend them. You need an attorney that knows the ends and outs of the local courts, one that understands criminal procedure and can help achieve the best outcome possible for you. You need an defense attorney that can sit down with you, explain the law and give you accurate legal advice based on your specific facts. You need help and you need it from a qualified criminal defense lawyer.


What does it cost to hire a criminal defense attorney on an Open Container Case?

Things we consider when determining our Attorney's fee:
(1) the time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly;
(2) the likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer;
(3) the fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services;
(4) the time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances;
(5) the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client;
(6) the experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services;


We always offer a free consultation. At that consultation, after hearing about your case we can give you an estimate as to Attorney's fees. For many misdemeanor cases we offer a flat rate option for our clients. We frequently make accomidations for payment plans on Attorney's fees.


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