Archive for the ‘Underage Drinking’ Category

Furnishing Alcohol to Minors in Kansas: Why It’s Not Worth the Risk

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Handing your underage friend a beer or purchasing alcohol for your nephew may seem to be relatively harmless conduct.  It is often tempting to be the nice guy who buys his barely underage friend a drink, or the cool parent who treats her underage daughter and her daughter’s underage friends to alcohol.  Or, you may be a minor and have taken your parent’s alcohol to give it to your underage friend.  While each of these acts by may seem insignificant to many people, the consequences in Kansas for supplying alcohol to minors can be harsh and life-changing.

In Kansas, furnishing alcohol (this includes simply providing or purchasing) to individuals under the age of 21 is a Class B Misdemeanor with a minimum of a $200 fine and possible jail time of up to 6 months – the same for a first-time DUI conviction.  The law applies equally to both adults providing to minors, and minors providing to minors.  Like with DUI’s, Kansas takes underage drinking very seriously and has set a precedent that the provider of alcohol to minors will be punished just as much as or even more than the underage consumer in possession of the alcohol.

All cases have their slightly different facts that can change the outcome for any given situation.  For example, if you are a parent who has supplied your underage child with alcohol under your supervision, you have committed no crime and this is a complete defense to a charge of furnishing alcohol to a minor in Kansas.  On the other hand, you may be a parent who has hosted a party, providing alcohol to multiple underage consumers, a situation where Kansas courts are more likely to be harsh.

Also, if you are a parent and your child has underage friends over, there’s always the possibility that those friends may consume alcohol in your home, whether you are aware of it or not.  That’s why it is extremely important to understand your rights and duties in Kansas when it comes to underage drinking.  If you wish to allow your child to have a glass of wine, that’s fine, but make sure it is only a family matter without your child’s friends over.

One very important reason why Kansas is especially harsh when it comes to underage drinking charges is because of the thousands of underage college students at the University of Kansas (KU), Baker University, and other surrounding colleges.  If you are a parent with an underage child, whether college-bound or not, or if you are an underage minor yourself, you need to understand that a conviction of furnishing alcohol to a minor is a serious offense that stays on your record, and can be especially harmful to young adults with otherwise bright futures.  For example, students may find it difficult to get a job, to be recruited into the military, or to receive a scholarship—all very important milestones in a young adult’s life.  To ruin a bright future for something so small as handing your underage friend a beer is not worth the consequences.

If you have been charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Kansas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  At Whitman Law Offices, Charles E. Whitman has over 35 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney, helping individuals who have been charged with a variety of offenses, especially in the area of alcohol-related and underage drinking charges.  Contact Charles E. Whitman today for a free consultation to evaluate your case.  You may contact us online, by phone at (785) 843-9460, or you may contact us in person at our downtown Lawrence location.  We are easily accessible from both the University of Kansas (KU) and Baker University.  We will also visit you at home or in jail, if necessary.

Underage Alcohol Offenses in Kansas – What Parents and Young Adults Must Know

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Underage drinking is not taken lightly in Kansas.  Whether you, or your son or daughter is charged with underage drinking and issued a citation, of being a Minor in Possession (MIP) or of Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor (MIC), or of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), you should take the charge very seriously.  All too often minors and young adults believe they can get away with underage drinking, especially college students who are eager to have fun and fit in.

In Kansas, individuals under the age of 21 who have been charged with any of the following underage alcohol offenses may be subject to severe consequences.

  • Issued with Citation for Underage Drinking
  • Minor in Possession (MIP) / Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor (MIC)
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

If convicted of an underage alcohol offense, your driving privileges may be revoked or limited.  You may only be able to drive to school, work, important appointments, and may only be able to drive during particular hours.  You may also be subject to mandatory drug testing and alcohol treatment.  Even more, you may be responsible for hundreds of dollars in fines and possibly jail time.  As a young adult, you also may find it hard to obtain a job, receive a scholarship, or to seek recruitment by the military.  This can all happen even in the case where you are pulled over and an unopened container of alcohol is present in the car.  What if the alcohol isn’t yours?  It doesn’t matter under Kansas law.  This is why parents should be on alert that their son or daughter could be in trouble even if no alcohol was consumed.

But, the most serious of the underage drinking offenses listed above is a DUI.  While the legal limit for blood-alcohol content (BAC) in Kansas is .08 for individuals 21 and over, the limit is much lower if you are underage.  Many people do not realize that the law is often harsher for young adults.  If you are pulled over and found to have even a slight amount of detectable alcohol in your system, and under the age of 21, this is enough to be charged with a DUI.  Such a charge can lead to a conviction that leaves you with a permanent criminal record.

With so much on the line as a young adult, parents should discuss with their children the severity of the consequences discussed above.  Whether your child is college-bound or not, taking a huge risk just to have a good time at a college party isn’t worth the harsh penalties that Kansas imposes on many young offenders.  Don’t let an underage drinking charge lead you down the wrong path.  Young adults will make mistakes and learn from them, but making what may seem to be a small mistake by driving after just one drink at a party, or walking down the street with a beer in your hand is not worth the time, cost and emotional strain that can be a distraction from receiving an education or starting a career.

If you, or if your son or daughter has been charged with an underage alcohol offense, you should contact a qualified criminal defense attorney right away.  Charles E. Whitman of the Whitman Law Offices devotes himself to helping individuals between the ages of 18 and 21 who have been charged with underage alcohol offenses in Kansas.  With over 35 years of experience, Charles Whitman has the necessary qualifications to protect your rights and help you avoid potentially harsh consequences.  Contact our office for a free consultation.  You may call us at (785) 843-9460, or contact us online.  Our office is located in downtown Lawrence, not far from the University of Kansas (KU) and Baker University.  Contact us today and let us help you get your life back on track.