What Happens if I Was Under the Legal Drinking Age at the Time of My Arrest?

Posted: July 1, 2023 at 12:00 am

When the chilling sirens and blinding lights of a patrol car consume your rearview mirror in Johnson County, KS, your heartbeat might just outpace the speedometer. In that moment, as an underage driver, Kansas law is not going to be easy on you. Your first step after the initial encounter with the police should be to start searching DUI lawyers near me. Every situation is unique, but there are some general things it’s helpful to know about Kansas law.

The Fundamentals of Underage DUI in Kansas

Kansas law does not take DUI offenses lightly, especially when it involves individuals under the legal drinking age. In Kansas, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers above 21 years of age is 0.08%. However, for those under 21, Kansas has a much lower threshold. A BAC of over 0.02% passes the legal limit for those who are under the legal drinking age. This means severe penalties kick in quickly.

Even within the realm of DUI, not all offenses are equal. Kansas law differentiates between various BAC levels, and as such, penalties can vary. For adults, a BAC of 0.08% to 0.15% is considered a less severe offense compared to having a BAC greater than 0.15, which calls for particularly harsh penalties. In addition, there are extra penalties for CDL drivers who have anything over 0.04%. However, for individuals under 21, even a BAC as low as 0.02% can trigger penalties.

Immediate Repercussions

If you’re under 21 and arrested for a DUI in Kansas, the immediate consequences can be harsh. Penalties can range from the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license to fines and community service. The length of license suspension and the amount of the fines can escalate based on your BAC levels and any previous DUI convictions.

Long-Reaching Impacts

Beyond the immediate penalties, an underage DUI conviction can have far-reaching impacts on your life. It can affect your ability to secure employment, especially in fields that require driving. Moreover, it can impede your educational prospects, as some colleges and universities may view DUI convictions unfavorably.

A Note About Kansas vs. Missouri

While Kansas and Missouri are close geographically, particularly around Kansas City, their laws regarding underage drinking and driving differ.  In both Missouri and Kansas, drivers under the age of 21 can be arrested for operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02% to .08%. Here are the penalties for underage drinking and driving in each state:


Underage drivers with a BAC of .02% to .08% receive a notice of suspension at the time of the offense. For a first offense, the driver will be suspended for 30 days and then required to have an IID (ignition interlock device) for 180 days. A second offense results in a one-year suspension, but a restricted license may be available.

If the underage driver has a BAC of .08% or more, they will be charged with a standard DUI offense, with penalties similar to those for adults, but minors (under the age of 18) may face modified penalties. Refusal to submit to chemical testing results in a one-year license suspension, followed by two years with an IID for a first offense. Subsequent violations result in longer IID periods.

In addition to the above penalties, underage drivers who are convicted of drinking and driving may also be required to complete community service, attend alcohol education classes, and pay court costs.


It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. This is known as the “zero tolerance” law. If you are under the age of 21, and you are caught driving with alcohol in your system, you will be charged with a criminal offense, even if you are not impaired.

The penalties for underage drinking and driving are severe, and they can have a lasting impact on your life. If you are facing charges for underage drinking and driving, it is important to seek legal help immediately, no matter where you are.

The Importance of Searching “DUI Lawyers Near Me” for Expert Legal Representation

When facing the potential life-altering consequences of an underage DUI, it is imperative to have skilled legal representation. The intricacies of Kansas law require a legal defense that is both relentless and adept in navigating the legal system. This is where Henderson Legal Defense, LLC comes to help.

Our attorneys are renowned for their unwavering commitment to defending clients. Our team’s accolades, which include being named Super Lawyers and among The National Trial Lawyers Top 100, are a testament to the exceptional caliber of our services.

Community and Commitment

Furthermore, our commitment transcends the confines of the courtroom. We believe in fostering a better environment for all, including those who have been accused of criminal offenses. We have represented a multitude of high-profile clients and have successfully defended thousands accused of various crimes. From misdemeanors to first-degree murder, our extensive experience and fervor for justice equip us to ardently represent your interests, irrespective of the gravity of the charges.

As experts in Kansas law, we understand that an underage DUI arrest can ruin a life and that the statutes, jargon, and procedures involved in getting out of this situation can be overwhelming. Our attorneys’ depth of knowledge and experience in Kansas DUI laws, coupled with their unwavering commitment to your defense, ensure that you have the best possible representation.

Rebuilding Your Future

The Road to Rehabilitation

Kansas law does offer avenues for rehabilitation and education for underage individuals convicted of DUI. These can include alcohol and drug education programs as well as treatment options. An expert attorney will not only defend you, but also guide you through these programs, helping you rebuild your life.

Tailored Defense Strategies

We understand that every case is unique. Our attorneys meticulously examine the specifics of your situation and devise tailored defense strategies. We challenge evidence, negotiate with prosecutors, and represent you with zeal in the courtroom.

Keeping You Informed

We believe that an informed client is an empowered client. We keep you abreast of all the developments in your case, explaining the nuances of Kansas law, and discussing the potential outcomes. We ensure that you’re not just represented, but also that you understand each step of the legal process.

A Fresh Start

Kansas law allows for the expungement of certain DUI convictions after a period. This means that your DUI conviction can be removed from your public record. Our attorneys can guide you through the expungement process, giving you the opportunity for a fresh start. If this is possible for you, we will work as hard as possible to clear the record for you.

A Choice That Shapes Your Future

If you find yourself facing an underage DUI arrest in Kansas, know that the choices you make now will shape your future. The legal team at Henderson Legal Defense, LLC is here to stand by your side, offering you the best defense with a proven track record. Our relentless dedication to justice and our unwavering commitment to our clients make us the ally you need in these trying times. Don’t let one moment define the rest of your life. Reach out to Henderson Legal Defense, LLC today to safeguard your future.