Do Felonies Disqualify You From Getting a CDL?

Happy truck driver maneuvering his truck in the parking lot of a truck stop

We all make mistakes — it’s a part of being human. Unfortunately, some mistakes carry heavier consequences than others. If you’ve been dreaming of hitting the open road and leaving your problems behind while earning good money, you’re likely worried your past mistakes could prevent you from getting your commercial driver’s license (CDL). The good news is that even if you have committed a felony in the past, you should still qualify for a CDL; however, depending on the state you live in, your criminal history may affect your potential for employment as a truck driver. 

Here’s a detailed glimpse into which felonies may disqualify you from being hired in the CDL industry.

Felonies That May Prevent You From Getting Hired

In some instances, felony charges will prohibit you from gaining employment as a big rig driver. Felonies that will automatically affect your employment options:

  • Any sex offense
  • Using a commercial vehicle to commit a felony
  • Committing manslaughter in the first or second degree with a motor vehicle
  • Causing a fatality as a result of reckless or negligent vehicle operation
  • Operating a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or greater
  • Assault with an intent to murder

It’s also important to note that you will not be able to earn your CDL if you have a suspended license, a warrant out for your arrest, or parole terms that will prevent you from performing your duties as a truck driver.

You May Still Be Able to Get Hired as a Convicted Felon

Many companies are willing to hire truck drivers with past felony convictions as long as it was not a felony from the list above. In fact, you do not have to have a perfect driving record to have a CDL.

To get hired, you must be able to prove to trucking companies that you’re responsible and trustworthy. One of the best ways to do this is to be open and honest about your past. Don’t embellish it or play it down with lies. Own up to your mistakes and show future employers how you’re committed to moving forward. These are the qualities employers look for in their employees. Keep in mind that you should never over-share. Any arrest with a Dismissed, Nolle Prossed, or Pardoned status should not be included on your employment application nor discussed during your hiring process (Unless the employer specifically asks “whether convicted, dismissed, nolle prossed, or pardoned”). 

Drive Beyond Your Past

No one should be defined by their past. Instead, they should be given the opportunity to prove they can learn from these past mistakes and do better in the future. If you’re a felon who desires to drive commercial vehicles, there’s still hope for your future. Speak with one of our representatives today to see if you qualify for a CDL career, despite your felony charges. We will then help you register for evening or weekend CDL training classes, so you can be well on your way towards lifetime truck driving jobs. Get in touch with us today!