Can I Become a Truck Driver with a Felony

Can I become a trucker if I have a prior police record or traffic tickets?

Truck driving is a field that can create opportunities for a wide variety of people. However, if your criminal history or driving history isn’t exactly spotless, you may wonder if you even qualify for a commercial driver's license. Learn about driving problems and criminal issues to find out if you’re a good fit for a career in trucking.

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Police Record and Prior Arrests

When you apply for your commercial driver’s license, the DMV will run your driving record to ensure that you have not been disqualified from earning a commercial driver’s license. Generally speaking, having a police record or prior arrests on your record does not disqualify you from earning a commercial driver’s license.

What if I have Felony on my record?

However, there are exceptions to this. There are certain offenses that do immediately disqualify you from earning a commercial driver’s license, while others may just temporarily keep you from starting a trucking career.

The following felonies may disqualify you from earning a CDL at the federal level:

  • Using a commercial vehicle in the commission of a felony
  • Manslaughter in the first or second degree with a motor vehicle
  • Misconduct with a motor vehicle
  • Causing a fatality through negligent/reckless vehicle operation
  • Operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or higher
  • Extortion
  • Bribery
  • Smuggling
  • Arson
  • Treason
  • Kidnapping
  • Assault with intent to murder

Each state has its own additional laws. Before applying for your commercial driver’s license, find out which felonies and convictions disqualify drivers in your state to ensure that you won’t be turned away.

What if I have outstanding Warrants?

If there’s currently a warrant out for your arrest, you may wonder if you’ll be arrested when you go to apply for your commercial driver’s license. If you have a warrant out for a felony, you are disqualified from earning a commercial driver’s license until the warrant is released.

If your warrant is for traffic tickets or issues, you may not be disqualified from earning a CDL. In fact, you may be able to take your driving test and get your commercial driver’s license even with an active warrant. However, you may have difficulty finding a job with traffic warrants. Employers may not be willing to take on high-risk drivers. If you look for work with a local company, you may be able to get hired if you demonstrate your dedication to safety and your interest in following traffic rules.

Can I get my CDL if I have had a DUI?

Commercial drivers are held to extremely strict standards when it comes to driving under the influence. You must submit to drug tests, both random and with reason. Federal law prohibits commercial drivers from driving their vehicle for four hours after drinking alcohol.

If your BAC is .04% or higher while operating a commercial vehicle, you may be disqualified from getting or renewing your license. If your BAC is .08% or higher while driving any vehicle while holding a CDL, you can lose your CDL. It may also be very difficult to find a trucking job with a DUI on your record, even if it was in the past.

Do Traffic Tickets Affect My CDL?

Typically, getting one traffic ticket does not disqualify you from earning or having a CDL. However, getting two or more violations in a certain period of time may temporarily keep you from getting a license. This is regulated at the state level.

Though it may be tricky to find a job with a record, in many cases, you can still get your CDL and start your career.