Felony DWI Convicts Could Soon Have Expanded Employment Rights

A new ordinance in Kansas City could lift employment restrictions for those with a history of drunk driving convictions. Currently, people who have been convicted of felony DWI or a felony property crime are prohibited from obtaining an employee liquor permit for several years because of the criminal offenses. Now, those who are convicted of certain crimes may be able to shorten the waiting period for a liquor sales permit, which would expand available job options for a large population of Missouri residents.

Official reports show that anyone who has been convicted of the felony DWI charge must wait for four years after the date of the offense before he or she can obtain a liquor sales permit. This restriction also applies to individuals who are convicted of larceny, fraud, tax evasion and auto theft, among other charges. This restriction can have serious financial consequences, as those affected by the law are prohibited from working at convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores and even restaurants in the city.

Now, though, a proposed change to the ordinance would allow banned felons to apply for the employee liquor permit. Many of those convicted of the property crimes or felony DWI offenses made mistakes in their youth, but they do not necessarily deserve to continue to be punished. One man said that he was able to enroll in college because he started working at upscale restaurants when he was released from custody more than a decade ago; since then, the rules have prevented many residents from doing the same.

A felony DWI or even multiple offenses should not limit future employment options so severely. Missouri legislators should consider expanding their alcohol service program to allow those convicted of crimes to be able to get back on their feet. No one should have to suffer through years of restricted employment because of one youthful indiscretion.

Source: KCTV 5, “Proposed ordinance could lift alcohol sales ban for certain felons“, June 23, 2014

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