For those recently released from prison, trucking and other CDL jobs have long been a go-to profession. As long as sufficient time has passed since one’s conviction, people with felonies can have good luck when getting into the trucking business. Although it’s definitely harder to get CDL jobs for felons, it is certainly possible to make a living in transportation following a prison sentence. Nonetheless, we’ll explore some of the key considerations felons need to think about when seeking driving jobs.
The Specifics of Convictions
First off, there are certain convictions that make it hard to land CDL jobs for felons. In many cases, it depends on how long ago the conviction occurred and the nature of the crime. Obviously, some felonies are more serious than others. Most notably, felonies related to vehicles and things like drug trafficking are often the most difficult to overcome when applying for jobs.
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As far as crimes that will automatically disqualify you from gaining access to trucking jobs, make note of the following:
• Felony convictions involving commercial vehicles
• Interstate drug trafficking
• Homicide by vehicle
• Reckless driving
• Two DUI convictions WHILE holding a CDL
• Grand theft auto (Penal Code § 487(d)(1) and (Vehicle Code § 10851)
As mentioned, the main determining factors that weigh into one’s ability to find CDL jobs are:
• The number of felony convictions
• The type of felony
• How much time has passed since your sentence was fulfilled
Receiving or Renewing Your CDL
If you have fulfilled a prison sentence, the first step before seeking a trucking job is to renew your CDL.
Considering that the job application process can be more difficult for felons, a good route to take is finding truck driving jobs with training. This allows individuals to receive the most up-to-date training and often guarantees employment at the company sponsoring the course.
Otherwise, your goal should be to find training on your own in order to apply for jobs following your graduation. In both cases, people with felonies need to consider the length of time that certain states review during background checks because this will affect your acceptance into a training program.
States that do not allow any felony conviction information older than seven years to be reported include:
- New Hampshire
- New York
Additionally, States that do not report court cases you were found NOT guilty include:
- New York
And the following will report unlimited numbers of years back of felony convictions while also reporting NOT guilty verdicts:
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Applying to CDL Jobs for Felons
If you haven’t completed a training course sponsored by a trucking company, the next step is applying for the job you want. Again, background checks are a necessary part of this process regardless of someone’s known criminal record. This mainly consists of your Pre Employment Screening (PSP) which covers criminal, employment, address, and driving record investigations.
Generally speaking, the main aspects that many trucking companies look for their applicants include:
- A relatively steady history of employment (no major gaps between jobs without explanation)
- A recent or up-to-date CDL license or ability to be trained
- Previous professional driving experience
- Clean driving record and solid work ethic
Ultimately, when applying for CDL jobs for felons it’s important to be upfront about convictions if asked. Although companies probably already know about your criminal record, your ability to reconcile the past and show them that you’re ready to work safely and efficiently is the goal.
Overall, try not to get discouraged as you go about your job search. Many companies have very strict policies, although by putting in the hard work to get your CDL and helping employers understand your situation, felons can find trucking jobs. Do you have experience with CDL jobs for felons? Let us know in the comments below!