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New bill may end employment of transit drivers with DUI

For most people that have faced a DUI charge, the fines, penalties, and license suspension that are imposed on them are punishment enough without having it affect their employment. While the period of suspension following a DUI already makes going to and from work extremely difficult, imagining that it may impact employment further is terrifying. Unfortunately, if a newly introduced bill makes it through the Senate, this is exactly what will happen to many New Jersey transit workers.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney announced plans to send a newly developed bill to the Senate for immediate approval. This bill, which is in response to a story about a New Jersey transit worker who continued to operate trains despite repeat DUI offenses, would bar transit workers in New Jersey from operating commuter trains after a DUI conviction.

While this bill would be in opposition to a federal law that allows transit engineers to operate a train even without a valid driver's license, Senate President Sweeney feels that a DUI should be the exception. And that a DUI conviction should result in an immediate exclusion from train operator positions.

This new legislation would not only cover transit workers that operate trains but light rail cars as well. There is no telling how many New Jersey residents this will affect, but regardless of who or how many it does, passing this bill into law would impact the employment of many and may even set the stage for further employment exclusions. Individuals that are facing DUI charges may wish to avoid conviction by working with an experienced criminal defense attorney. With their help, criminal charges may be greatly reduced or eliminated completely.

Source: nj.com, "Should a DUI prevent someone from driving an NJ Transit train?," Larry Higgs, May 25, 2016

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