Transporting Open Container (TOC) in Kansas

Posted by Matt McLane | Dec 04, 2014 | 0 Comments

How many times have you cracked open a beer while en route to a sporting event with the intent to drink just one before you reach your destination.  It is conceivable many drivers have done so during the course of a social sporting event.  Unfortunately, Kansas law specifically prohibits transporting an open container of liquor or beer while driving.  Under K.S.A. 8-1599, "alcoholic beverage" means any alcoholic liquor or any cereal malt beverage. The TOC law prohibits transporting these beverages unless such beverage is:  1) in the original unopened container with its original cap; 2) in the locked rear trunk or rear compartment (if no trunk, then must be behind last upright seat); or 3) in the exclusive possession of a passenger in a recreational vehicle (RV rule).  TOC is a misdemeanor charge that carries a maximum fine of $200 and a maximum jail sentence of six (6) months.  While Judges seldom impose the jail provision, the law does require Judges to order a suspension of your license for one year following a second conviction of the statute.  The suspension period of one year is the same penalty imposed on driver's who are arrested for DUI and who then refuse a breath test.  TOC can not be compared to a DUI stop.  Driving with an open beer is a much different act than driving under the influence and refusing to submit to breath testing.  I would favor a law that mirrors the Missouri laws in this regard: open containers are allowed in the vehicle so long as the driver does not possess or have access to such beverages.  The primary defense to this charge is that a passenger was in exclusive control of the container and the driver can submit to a preliminary breath test to show he or she was not drinking.

About the Author

Matt McLane

Matt McLane was born in Topeka, Kansas, and moved to Pittsburg, Kansas in 1980 where he attended middle school, high school and college. Upon graduation from PSU in 1992, Matt moved back to Topeka where he attended Washburn University law school. Upon graduation, he moved to Overland Park and worked in a small firm handling DUI and traffic cases. He opened the McLane Law Firm in April 2011 and has built his firm on a strong referral base and solid reputation.


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McLane Law Firm

Matt McLane has been defending individuals charged with DUI, traffic and criminal offenses since his graduation from Washburn University Law School in 1996. Licensed in the states of Kansas and Missouri. Mr. McLane specializes in DUI and criminal defense throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area.

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