How an Open Container Violation Can Affect Your Record | Wichita DUI Attorneys
Did you know that Kansas has some of the strictest alcohol-related laws in the country? With various dry counties still prohibiting the sale of liquor, it is no surprise that open container laws are penalized harshly in the state. Thankfully, our Wichita DUI attorneys at the McConnell Law Firm have years of experience defending against DUI charges and understand the consequences associated with an open container violation. Find out everything you need to know below!
What Is an “Open Container”?
According to state law, no driver or passenger is permitted to have any type of opened alcoholic beverage in their vehicle while driving on a public road. This includes empty cans of beer, half-drank bottles of wine, or brand-new liquor bottles if the seal has been cracked. If you are transporting alcohol of any kind, and the original seal or packaging has been opened, or the contents have been partially removed, you can be cited for an open container, even if you are not under the influence of said alcohol. While many citizens assume open container charges only arise when combined with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges, they are actually a separate offense with serious consequences.
“DUI charges are separate offenses because you can have an open container and still not be intoxicated,” said Jonathan W. McConnell, founding Wichita DUI attorney at the McConnell Law Firm. “During the height of the pandemic, Kansas changed the liquor laws, making the situation more complicated if you get pulled over. You can have a case of beer or bottle of wine in the car as long as it’s sealed in the original packaging, but many times officers will attempt to charge people with transporting open containers if they are trying to charge them with something else such as a DUI.”
Impact of Open Container Violations
Under Kansas law, it is prohibited to transport an open container of alcohol in a vehicle on either a public highway or street. Should you be caught transporting liquor that has previously been opened, you will be facing a potential license suspension and a variety of other consequences. Some of these include:
Fines—In Kansas, open container violations are considered misdemeanors and may result in a fine of up to $200.
Jail Time—If convicted of an open container misdemeanor, an individual may face a maximum of six months in jail.
Drug and Alcohol Evaluation—If the convicted person is under the age of 21, they will likely be required to undergo an alcohol and drug evaluation and follow any recommended treatment plans.
License Suspension—In addition to other penalties, any person facing a second open container conviction within a five-year period will face a one-year license suspension at the court’s discretion.
Proving a Violation
While some officers may attempt to issue a citation on a weak basis, you can fight the violation if you believe it is incorrect and have the citation dropped or removed. In order for an officer to prove an open container violation, they must be able to testify that:
- Your vehicle was in motion.
- You were driving on a public road or highway.
- An alcohol container was in your car.
- The container was opened, or the seal was broken.
- The container had any amount of alcohol inside (the smell alone is not sufficient proof).
Have You Been Accused?
If you have been charged with an open container violation, we encourage you to contact the McConnell Law Firm as soon as possible. While every case is different, and no conclusions should be drawn without first consulting a Wichita DUI attorney about the specifics of your case, it is always in your best interest to have a skilled attorney by your side from the beginning.
Request a Free Consultation
Do you or a loved one need the assistance of one of our experienced Wichita DUI attorneys? We encourage you to contact the McConnell Law Firm at (316) 243-5903 for a free consultation.Contact Us
Jonathan W. McConnell and his team have become well-known for their expert knowledge and unmatched tenacity. They have been rated highly by the public and their peers on many prestigious legal directories and professional organizations.
McConnell has a Preeminent Attorney and Platinum Client Champion on the online legal directory, Martindale-Hubbell.
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McConnell is one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers as part of The National Trial Lawyers, a professional organization and directory of premier trial lawyers.