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

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.

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