Mar 22, 2019
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How A Felony May Affect My Commercial Driver’s License

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There are more than 400,000 Federal laws that in effect across every state and jurisdiction of the United States, and some laws that apply to U.S. citizens even when they travel overseas. Believe it or not, if you have ever used an unsecured Wi-Fi connection without permission, you have unknowingly violated Federal law.

On top of this, what is deemed to be a serious felony in one state may be regarded as a petty public ordinance and fine in another. For this reason, there are no cut and dry answers when it comes to determining to what extent a felony will affect your chances for CDL-based employment.

New Driver’s Interested in Applying for a CDL

If you have never applied for a Commercial Driver s License, you may find it harder to break into the industry. This is because the schools that provide training may not sponsor you or train you in this field. The reason is that they are often acting to fill the needs of employers who want the best cut of workers available.

And although a criminal charge may not mean a whole lot in the context of your employment, if it was for hacking a computer system or an abstract penal theory, employers have a general aversion to avoid the complications that come with hiring felons.

What this means is that you may have to find an employer who is willing to give you on-the-job training or pay for private schooling in the hopes of retaining a job. While this may seem like a harsh method of sorting prospective truck drivers who have been through incarceration, it can also be the stepping stone for finding a door into the industry and proving yourself by possibly working harder than other prospects.

If you can make the cut in the few trucking outfits that will accept felons, time and work records may bury that conviction into a fading nullity of the past. It all boils down to your work ethic and whether you feel that you have the dedication that trucking outfits are seeking.

A large employer may have blanket policies that prohibit them from hiring felons for insurance purposes, which is understandable if your felony is in any manner related to an assortment of reasons.

Driver’s Who Have Experience

However, when you consider the abstract nature of many criminal theories in the United States and the arbitrary distinctions between felonies and misdemeanors, there should be an override button available for well-qualified candidates to continue their careers.

State Laws That Prohibit the Issuance of a CDL

The trick for obtaining your CDL may boil down to finding a job outside of your state. If you happen to live in a state like Texas that prohibits felons from holding a CDL for the rest of their lives, you can simply cross the state lines and apply elsewhere. Texas also places a 3-year prohibition on drivers who were convicted of lesser offenses such as fleeing the scene of an accident or driving under the influence.

If you are concerned about what the restrictions may be in your area, please contact your state DMV. They will require a mandatory criminal background check if there are any rules that prohibit you from driving. Even if there are rules, they are usually temporary and start counting down from the day that you complete your sentence or pay your restitution off.

And while some states will allow you to obtain a Commercial Drivers License while you are still on probation, no state will give you a CDL with an active warrant. The same is true if your class A or B driver’s license is suspended. You will not be able to obtain your CDL until the suspension period is over.

Types of Crimes That May Have More Bearing on Employment

When it comes to felonies, a crime committed during your employment as a truck driver would be the most severe offenses. This is especially true if you were caught in an interstate drug trafficking bust. Employers would likely run the other way to avoid the possibility of being wrapped up as suspects in your crimes. Hiring someone known to engage in this type of activity would make it hard to sleep at night, knowing that the employer can’t watch everything that is being done.

If your case involves other types of motor-vehicle-related crimes, this can also signal that you are a liability to an employer. These might be situations such as drinking and driving, being caught with drugs in your car or truck, or even reckless driving and causing an accident.

Since your driving record is of paramount importance in your career, you should expect to be passed over for a lot of positions if you have a long history of breaking safety rules. Being entrusted to drive a big truck is all about adherence to safety and regulation.

It is only because there is a shortage of supply and a significant demand for truck drivers that opportunities exist. Employers are likely to be less forgiving if you make mistakes and have a minor criminal record. They may speculate that your failure to obey instructions or traffic tickets may be somehow related to your previous habits.

If you were caught using meth for example, and your employer notices that you are driving at excessive speeds, they may think that you are using this drug or a similar drug again.

If your criminal record involves gun charges but no violent crimes related to guns, you may have fewer problems with finding employment. This would be especially true if you were in a state with harsh gun laws that made it a crime to have your holster that you usually carry for protection or to have it in your vehicle.

If you were convicted of violent crimes, your employer might have to look at the facts on a case-by-case basis to determine whether it has any bearing on your employment. If you were involved in a drunken domestic situation, this would likely have little bearing on your employment unless you became irate while text-messaging a lover on the job.

Key Factors That May Affect Employability:

  • Number of offenses
  • The seriousness of the crime (s)
  • Age when offense(s) occurred
  • Relation to your employment
  • Evidence of rehabilitation
  • Dedication to the field
  • Talent and employment history
  • Knowledge of truck safety regulations

Whether the crime was one associated with moral turpitude such as murder, aggravated assaults, robbery, kidnapping, or rape.


You could obtain a Commercial Driver’s License in many states even if you were convicted of felonies. However, the specific facts of your case and your flexibility to relocate to another state may have the heaviest bearing on whether you will be employable in this field. The demand for truck drivers may allow several employers to overlook any felonies and give you a second chance that you deserve.

Refraining from any criminal behavior, no matter how petty, and showing a strong work ethic and trustworthiness can open doors for you to advance your career and bury that criminal record in the past. So, never give up hope even if you have to contact numerous companies before you find someone willing to consider your dedication.

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