Being a felon comes with many disadvantages, hence the question, can you be a truck driver with a felony in 2023?
Getting an answer to this isn’t straight-jacketed, as there are various factors to consider.
However, for many individuals with a criminal record, the commercial trucking industry is a realm of untapped potential.
Buckle up as we explore this industry, the legal considerations, and your chances of landing a job as a truck driver with a checkered past.
Let’s get to it already, shall we?
Can You Be A Truck Driver With A Felony In 2023?
For those with a felony conviction, the path to becoming a truck driver may seem uncertain.
The trucking industry is known for its rigorous background checks, stringent regulations, and the responsibility of carrying valuable cargo across state lines.
The concern over hiring individuals with a criminal past is understandable, but the situation is not as black-and-white as it might seem.
Over the years, the trucking industry has become more inclusive and open to individuals seeking a fresh start.
In response to a growing shortage of truck drivers, some companies have shifted their stance on hiring those with felony convictions.
They recognize that a mistake made in the past shouldn’t necessarily define a person’s future.
Completing probation or parole, staying out of trouble, and participating in relevant educational programs can all contribute to making a compelling case for employment in the trucking industry.
What You Need As a Felon to Become a Truck Driver?
The allure of the open road, the independence that comes with it, and the prospect of a fresh start make truck driving a dream profession for many.
But for those with a felony conviction in their past, this dream can feel out of reach.
However, becoming a truck driver as a felon is not impassable.
Here are some criteria you must meet,
1. Resolve and Commitment
The journey of a felon to a truck driver begins with an unwavering commitment to change one’s life for the better.
Acknowledging past mistakes and demonstrating a strong determination to move forward in a positive direction is essential.
Self-belief and unwavering commitment are the cornerstones of this transformation.
2. A Clean Slate: Rehabilitation and Parole Completion
Many trucking companies and CDL training programs require that you have completed your probation or parole.
This crucial step indicates your commitment to staying on the right side of the law.
Completing your parole period and staying out of trouble are key factors.
3. Honesty and Transparency
Honesty is paramount when seeking a career as a truck driver with a felony.
Be upfront about your criminal record during the application process.
Most employers conduct thorough background checks, so hiding your past is not a viable strategy.
Instead, demonstrate how you’ve grown and improved since your conviction.
4. A Valid Driver’s License
You’ll need a regular driver’s license first to become a truck driver.
If you don’t already have one, work on obtaining it.
Ensure your driving record is as clean as possible because your driving history plays a significant role in hiring.
Also see: Second Chance Trucking Companies
5. Obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
One of the critical steps for those seeking a career in trucking is obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
CDL training programs are available in many states and often accept individuals with felony convictions.
Completing a certified CDL training program equips aspiring drivers with the skills they need and shows their commitment to the profession.
Earning a CDL is the gateway to a career in truck driving.
To do this, you’ll need to:
1. Enroll in a reputable CDL training program
These programs often accept individuals with felony convictions.
They provide the necessary education and hands-on training to prepare you for the CDL exams.
2. Pass the CDL written and skills tests
This is where your commitment to learning and your ability to operate a commercial vehicle will be tested.
3. Keep your CDL clean
Once you have your CDL, maintaining a good driving record is essential.
Any traffic violations or accidents can jeopardize your career prospects.
6. Professional References and Recommendations
While a criminal record can be a barrier, strong character references and recommendations from reputable individuals can vouch for your character, work ethic, and commitment to change.
These references can carry significant weight during the hiring process.
7. A Supportive Network
A strong support system, whether it’s friends, family, or mentors, can make a tremendous difference in your journey from a felon to a truck driver.
Their encouragement and guidance can help you navigate the challenges you may face.
Which Felonies Disqualify You From Holding A CDL?
While the exact disqualifications may vary slightly from state to state, some felonies commonly result in CDL ineligibility.
These typically include:
1. Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
A conviction for a DUI or DWI can disqualify you from holding a CDL.
This is due to the trucking industry’s emphasis on maintaining road safety.
2. Serious Drug Offenses
Felony drug trafficking and distribution convictions are among the most common disqualifiers.
The transportation of controlled substances by CDL holders is a grave concern, as it can significantly impact road safety.
3. Violent Felonies
Convictions for violent crimes such as manslaughter, murder, or assault can disqualify you from obtaining a CDL.
These crimes raise questions about an individual’s propensity for violence, which is a significant concern when operating heavy machinery.
4. Sexual Offenses
Felonies related to sexual offenses, especially those involving minors, can disqualify an individual from holding a CDL.
The safety of the public, particularly vulnerable populations, is a top priority in the trucking industry.
5. Felonies Involving a Commercial Vehicle
Felonies committed while operating a commercial vehicle can also result in CDL disqualification.
These include offenses like vehicular manslaughter or the use of a commercial vehicle in the commission of a felony.
6. Felonies Involving Fraud or Theft
Felonies related to fraud, identity theft, embezzlement, or other financial crimes may lead to CDL disqualification.
The concern is the potential misuse of the trust and responsibility that comes with a CDL.
Felonies involving homicide, whether vehicular manslaughter or murder, can lead to disqualification.
These offenses raise significant safety concerns and are subject to strict regulations.
Also see: Does FedEx Hire Felons?
8. Domestic Violence
In some states, domestic violence convictions can lead to CDL disqualification, especially if they involve violence, aggression, or a threat to public safety.
The journey from a criminal past to a career on the open road is neither straightforward nor without its challenges.
Yet, as we’ve discovered, it is a journey marked by resilience, transformation, and the power of second chances.
The road to becoming a truck driver with a felony is a testament to the human spirit’s capacity for growth and redemption.
So, if you consider a life behind the wheel, the road is open, the engine is running, and the destination is yours to define.
Your journey begins now, fueled by the belief that even with a felony in your past, the future remains boundless.