Are There Open Container Laws in Missouri & Kansas?

When living in the Kansas City area, it is a common practice to cross the Missouri and Kansas state line without considering that it is a completely different state – with different driving laws. In the case of open container laws, it is imperative to remember that no two states are exactly alike, and that Kansas and Missouri actually differ greatly in this matter. While it is possible to leave Missouri without leaving the Kansas City area, respecting the laws of neighboring Kansas is imperative.

The laws surrounding alcohol, where and when vendors can sell it, and where and when adults can consume it, vary to a great degree between Missouri and Kansas. Additionally, the laws on transporting any variety of alcohol in a vehicle are also quite different. Understanding those key differences across state lines is key to avoiding legal trouble.

If you have any questions regarding DUIs or intoxicated driving, reach out to one of our personal injury lawyers in Kansas City.

missouri open container law

What Are the Open Container Laws in Missouri?

Missouri has some of the most lenient laws in the country regarding the consumption of alcohol. Missouri does not have open container laws prohibiting alcohol on the street, though certain neighborhoods and principalities do not allow it. Likewise, no open container rule exists in the greater state of Missouri (though local areas may have specific rules).

In other words, anyone over the age of 21 can drink from an open container in a moving car as long as the driver is not actively drinking and has a legal blood alcohol level. Regardless of whether individuals are drinking in the car, the driver can transport open bottles, such as leftover wine from dinner.

An important note – having open containers in any vehicle increases the chance of police questioning a driver or asking him or her to take a Breathalyzer test in a routine traffic stop. Nevertheless, Missouri allows open containers in moving vehicles, as long as everyone is of age, and the driver is not drinking.

What Are the Open Container Laws in Kansas?

Laws around alcohol in Kansas are not only stricter than the lenient laws of Missouri, but they are also stricter than nearly any other state in America. Kansas prohibits public consumption of alcohol everywhere, unless part of a festival in a defined area.

Transporting opened containers of any kind is illegal on every street, road, or highway in Kansas. The only exception is that individuals may transport opened alcohol in a locked trunk if the individual has resealed the bottle and the drink is in the original bottle. If the vehicle does not have a separate trunk, it is permissible under the law to put the resealed bottle behind the farthest seat from the driver. Of course, the driver must be 21 years old or older.

Due to the stark differences in alcohol laws and vehicular laws in Kansas and Missouri, individuals who travel between the two states must exercise vigilance and caution when transporting open alcohol. In Kansas, drivers simply cannot do it. As soon as a vehicle passes over the state line, the vehicle and its passengers are subject to that state’s laws. If someone has an open container in Missouri, they are responsible for it once they enter Kansas. In Kansas, that means having an open container becomes illegal.