Can A Felon Get a CDL

Can You Get A CDL If You Are A Felon in [year]?

Having served your sentence, you may have wanted to work as a commercial vehicle driver for some trucking company. But to be eligible for such a job, you would need to have a commercial driver’s license, or a CDL.

But can a felon get a CDL? Well, yes, a felon can get a CDL, but there are some things you need to be aware of.

Do trucking companies even hire felons?

First of all, let’s establish whether there is a point or not for felons in getting a CDL. After all, one would want to get a CDL to drive a commercial vehicle for a trucking company, right?

So the question to ask is whether or not trucking companies hire felons. And the answer is that trucking companies are indeed willing to hire felons, although some may be more willing and less strict than others.

There are plenty of things that play a role for trucking companies like the nature of your offense, the number of felonies, how long ago they have been committed, your level of experience with trucks, and many others. But generally, it is perfectly possible for felons to be hired by trucking companies.

However, offenses involving traffic violations, driving under the influence, drug or alcohol abuse, and other similar felonies are more likely to be disqualifying for employment at a trucking company. So before actually going to apply for a commercial driving license, make sure that there is even a point in doing so.

Can a felon get a CDL in [year]?

Can A Felon Get a CDL

Just like there are certain offenses that disqualify you from being hired by a trucking company, some felonies also disqualify you from getting a CDL.

Generally, the following felonies disqualify applicants from receiving a CDL:

  • 1st or 2nd manslaughter with the use of a motor vehicle
  • A felony with the use of a commercial vehicle.
  • Causing a fatal accident through reckless vehicle operation.
  • Misconduct with a motor vehicle.
  • Driving under the influence.
  • Assault with intent to murder.
  • Extortion/bribery.

Be mindful that each state may have varying disqualifications for getting a CDL. You would thus need to consult with your local Department of Motor Vehicles to learn whether or not you are eligible.

Also, keep in mind that more than one traffic violation may temporarily disqualify you from getting CDL. Again, this depends on the state.

Generally, if you don’t have serious offenses or offenses involving misconduct of a vehicle, you are likely to get a CDL and then be hired by a trucking company.

What you need to get a CDL

There are 3 commercial driver’s license classes:

  • Class A, which allows you to drive pretty much any vehicle.
  • Class B, which allows you to drive almost any vehicle that doesn’t have a trailer.
  • Class C, which limits you to smaller vehicles.

Besides, there are certain steps for you to take in order to obtain a CDL:

  • Test for a commercial learner’s permit, or a CLP. A CLP is a permit that authorizes you to practice on public roads while supervised by a qualified CDL holder.
  • Hold the CLP for 14 days or more
  • Take a road skills test for a CDL.

For a CLP, you will need:

For a CLD, you will need:

  • To hold your CLP for at least 14 days, as we already mentioned.
  • Provide a vehicle for your road skills test. This vehicle needs to be of the same type that you plan to drive.
  • Pass the CDL skills test, which consists of a vehicle inspection test,a basic controls exam, and a road test.

Keep in mind that requirements for a CLP and CLD may vary across each state, so make sure to consult the local Department of Motor Vehicles for information more specific to your area.

To add an endorsement to your commercial driver’s license, you will need to pass additional tests. You will need an endorsement for:

  • Transporting hazardous materials.
  • Passenger vehicles or school buses.
  • Tank vehicles.

Some past specializations allow applicants to have their CDL skills test waived. Those include:

  • Emergency medical servicemen.
  • Workers removing snow and ice.
  • Military veterans.

So if you are a felon, your past experience may make it more likely for you to successfully receive a CDL and then get hired by a trucking company.

When applying for a CDL, make sure, to be honest about all your past convictions, even those cleared or expunged from your criminal records. Failing to disclose criminal information is a federal offense. And besides, you won’t seem trustworthy if you hide information from authorities.

See also: List of Companies That Hire Felons

Do you even need a CDL?

If you are going to drive a commercial-sized truck, then you will need to have a CDL. Fortunately, getting a CDL isn’t too difficult nowadays, given the shortage of truck drivers. This could make the processes of both receiving a CDL and being hired by a trucking company easier for you.

Some trucking companies are also willing to pay the CDL-associated fees and finance your education on the condition that you will work for them for a specific time period, which usually is one year. If you are eligible and sign a contract with a trucking company, you will be automatically hired after getting your CDL.

Given that you may spend around $3,000-$8,000 to receive education and pass a CDL test, it may be worth it to sign a contract with a trucking company. But keep in mind that you’ll need to work the full time specified in the contract. Otherwise, you will have to pay a penalty.

Also, be mindful that if you already have a CDL license at the moment of application, you are more likely to be hired by a trucking company. Your starting salary is also more likely to be higher, somewhat because some trucking companies actually deduct a portion of CDL certification costs from paychecks. So if you are a felon, it may be more reasonable for you to get a CDL and only then apply for a job.

Recommended: Can You Get A CDL With A DUI?

5 thoughts on “Can You Get A CDL If You Are A Felon in [year]?”

  1. I was conficted if non violent Felony in June of 2017 I’m out now but have 6 months if parole to do yet. I have. CDL A and had been driving OTR and Regional for 45 years until I got locked up. With 5 million miles of accident and ticket free driving. Do I stand a chance in getting back behind the wheel when I’m off parole in 6 months.

    • What were you convicted of? Drivers are certainly in high demand but there are some things that just won’t fly. One thing you won’t be able to do is drive HazMat, the background check will rule you out, so don’t even bother. Also if you were trafficking that would rule you out as well.
      – Recruiter for trucking.

  2. Hello I was convicted of a possession (felony) and had a history of few misdemeanor driving with out license when I was younger. Have history of driving 28 refer trucks want to get a CDL i believe its possible but not sure.

  3. I’m Arthor Lee Fluker Jr and I am seeking Class A License and Cdl License but I need training and placement with a company that will train me and provide living placement while I train and shall hire me for the next 10 years because I am currently 66 years old and my health is very good. I want to be away from Pennsylvania because I have nothing here to hold me and I need this career badly because it’s my passion to be on the open road as much as possible if I can. Therefore; I have a felony record and my last arrest was 3 years ago for Retail Theft from Macy’s Store in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I have a Careless Driving, running a Stop Sign and Red Light all from the same incident of May 2019. I have been trying to rebuild my life but now it’s time I seek aid, assistance and help… immediately because I wish and desire to become a professional truck driver. Thank you very much for your time and understanding and consideration .

  4. 61 yr old and 64 yr old married for over 4 decades to each other convicted of kidnapping in NC because they turned in a felon they bailed out to try and help this man, the bail bondsman who this couple hired told them to go get the bail jumper because he had just 30 days prior had to hire another bondsman because hes to chicken shit to do it himself, so this old couple was told to go get him which they did, they didnt hurt him, shoot him, they were told they could not shoot him or chase him out of the state which they didnt, they brought him back to the bondsman who turned him in and this man spent 3 yrs in prison, but because he was involved with the local fathers of this county, they had this couple prosecuted for kidnapping which they got their conviction and now this couple has lost it all, and they are on welfare, trying to find a team driving job so they can work together but no one will hire them because of the kidnapping charge, they both have the class A lic and neither have any kind of previous issues in 60 years, someone help them get work please.

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