In Kansas, young people hope to avoid a conviction for Minor In Possession (MIP) after being arrested by Kansas police. While no juvenile wants to have an alcohol-related conviction on their record, this is especially true for young Kansas residents.
In the state of Kansas, it is against state law for any person under 21 years of age to possess, consume, obtain, purchase, or attempt to obtain or purchase alcoholic liquor or cereal malt beverage except as authorized by Kansas law.
If a minor, who is at least 18 but less than 21, is found to have violated this statute, he or she will be charged with a Class C misdemeanor and be fined $200. If the minor is younger than 18 years of age, he or she will be considered to be a juvenile offender and will be sentenced to a fine of at least $200, no more than $500.
In addition to the fine, an offender may also be required by the court to perform several hours of community service or attend and complete an educational or training program that deals with issues related to alcohol and/or drugs.
Further, upon a first conviction, the minor will lose driving privileges for 30 days. If this is a minor's second conviction, driving privileges will be suspended for 90 days and a third or subsequent conviction will lead to a suspension of one year. The consequences to the driver's license is the primary reason the accused should pursue diversion. See below.
In Kansas, most MIP charges can get diverted (delayed) for one year. In these cases, alcohol and/or drug classes will also be mandated along with some type of monthly monitoring by a probation officer. In some instances, the court will require random UAs (urine testing) during the diversion period. While most diversions last one year, I can get the term reduced to six months under certain circumstances.
According to the Johnson County District Attorney's website, the prosecutors would normally charge hundreds of juveniles with MIP (due in large part to the police staking out 'house parties'). In most instances, the teens were merely at a house party, did drink some alcohol, and were therefore charged with MIP. Now, these minors may be eligible for the “MIP Program.” This program is for those who have had no prior offenses, were not highly intoxicated at the time of the incident, and were cooperative with police.
If the minor successfully completes the program, the case will be formally declined. This means that the minor will have no record. In addition, the minor will not be deemed ineligible for diversion for a future offense. As of the date of this post, there have been approximately 120 juveniles who have taken advantage of the program since it began in 2009. Update: this program, known as a "pre-file" diversion, has become more popular due to the simplicity and small expense involved. A lawyer is not required in order to obtain the diversion.