Do Trucking Companies Hire Felons?

July 8, 2021

One of the biggest problems felons today face is companies refusing to hire in light of their past mistakes. If you find yourself in this situation, you might be wondering if trucking companies hire convicted felons.

Yes, trucking companies will hire drivers convicted with felonies, misdemeanors or DWI’s.  Hiring policies can vary between companies, and most trucking companies will require between 5, 7, or 10 years to have passed from the date you were convicted to be eligible for hiring.

So, if you are a past or aspiring truck driver coming off of time served for a felony with the right work ethic you just may be able to land yourself a position behind the wheel.

But I won’t lie, it’s not going to be easy.

Hiring managers and recruiters are notoriously very selective about the drivers they let into their training programs.

It will be up to you to prove that you are not defined by mistakes of your past and that you can be a profit generating asset for the trucking company

With all of that being said, before we get into our best tips for applying to trucking jobs with a felony and what trucking companies hire felons, we need to point out some charges that might disqualify you from ever holding a CDL.

Intermediate Truck Drivers for Hire

What felonies disqualify you from getting a CDL?

Certain criminal charges and repeat traffic violations can disqualify an individual from holding a CDL.

Commercial driving requires a high standard of care and there are instances when a person is disqualified to get one as provided in 49 CFR 383.51 of the FMCSA regulation.

There are four types of CDL disqualifications – disqualification for major offences, disqualification for serious traffic violations, disqualification for railroad highway grade crossing offenses, and disqualification for violating out of service orders.  Each one carries its own suspension timeline that depends on the severity of the violation.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol

Driving under the influence of alcohol carries a mandatory disqualification of a driver’s CDL.  A commercial driver will receive a DWI with a BAC of .04% reduced from the typical .08%.  This limit applies for all CMV drivers regardless of their on or off duty status at the time of the citation.

Refusal to Take an Alcohol Test

According to the FMCSA, a driver’s refusal to submit to a drug or alcohol test is equivalent to testing positive.  The driver is immediately removed from performing any safety functions including the operation of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

Driving Under the Influence of Controlled Substances

A driver found guilty of driving under the influence of a controlled substance as defined by the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) is disqualified from getting a CDL for a year at the minimum.

Leaving the Scene of An Accident

Accidents aren’t a part of any pre-trip plan. But when they happen, CDL drivers are required by law to stop, give aid, & alert local authorities in the event that an accident occurs.

Operating a Commercial Vehicle When Not Permitted by Law

If a truck driver’s license is suspended or revoked, he or she is disqualified by law to operate a commercial motor vehicle. This rule extends to drivers even if they carry a valid CDL in the state they reside, but have suspensions in other states due to violations of the law.

Murder or Negligent driving resulting in a fatality

Negligent driving resulting in fatality includes negligent homicide, homicide by motor vehicle, and motor vehicle manslaughter are felonies that disqualify you from getting a CDL.

Other non traffic related charges that can disqualify you from getting or keeping a CDL include:

  • Arson
  • Bribery
  • Extortion
  • Terrorism
  • Smuggling
  • Treason
  • Kidnapping

If you are in a position that you were convicted of any of these crimes, the chances of you getting a CDL are slightly increased if you were not behind the wheel of a CMV while the crime was committed. 

5 Tips to Get Hired With a Felony

There are never any guarantees that a trucking company will hire you but everyone, even drivers with a clean record are required to go through a thorough interview process.

In this process a driver recruiter will evaluate you as a driver and a person.

Here are 5 ways you can maximize your chances of being recognized by a driver recruiter and get a truck driving job.

  1. Make applying your full-time job

Like anything you do in life, applying to jobs is a numbers game.  Before you are hired by a trucking company you have to get on their radar.

It goes without saying that the more trucking companies that know who you are, the better your chances of landing an interview.

Use the time that you aren’t employed to send applications and contact as many trucking companies as possible.

Always check a trucking company's website to see if there are any policies regarding hiring felons, but if you can’t find anything try anyway. 

The worst they can say is no right?

  1. Be honest with your employers

Never try to hide your past from your employer.  Although no one is forced to hire you,  there are discrimination laws in place that protect employers from discriminating against those with a criminal background.

Use your record as a chance to show an interviewer that you are an honest person and own the mistakes of your past.

Sometimes this can go a long way and shows that you are a person with integrity and looking to move your life forward.

  1. Be politely persistent

After you reach out to your potential employers, one of the most important aspects of getting noticed will be your ability to follow up.

We encourage our readers to practice what we call “polite persistence”.

This means staying on your potential employers radar without crossing the line and being annoying.

After you successfully reach a recruiter or hiring manager willing to take your call, be sure to follow up with 1-2 emails or phone calls after a few days.

Truck driver recruiters juggle a lot of responsibilities so staying on top of their mind is important to ultimately getting hired.

  1. Connect in Person

Your personality and other qualities will play a large part in a trucking company's decision to hire you.

While it may seem like you are building real connections with recruiters over the phone, you’ll convey more of your personality and other soft skills with an in person meeting.

Skills like communication, working well with others, and self confidence.

  1. Have a Clean Online Image

In the modern age, your digital footprint is usually a trucking company's first impression of you.

While they may not say it outright, your interview will most likely start with an internet search of your name.

Make sure to do everything you can to overshadow any negative press you might have related to your records with acts of service and responsible social media profiles.

Use professional pictures in your online accounts, volunteer for charitable events and take part in other initiatives that show you are a well rounded person with a lot to offer.

Expert Truck Drivers for Hire

Can felons be truck drivers?

Felons can be truck drivers. In fact there are a lot of companies that are willing to set aside previous convictions so long as you prove worthy for the job.

Here is a list of some major trucking companies that offer opportunities for paid training, with some of them offering paid training to get your CDL.

Truck driving companies that hire felons (5 years old convictions or more)

Trucking companies that hire an ex-con. (7 years old convictions or more):

Trucking companies that hire felons (10 years old convictions or more):

*In general, the more time that has elapsed between your conviction and your job application, the better chance you will be hired. Like we mentioned earlier, make sure to get in touch with as many carriers as possible, be honest about your past.  With the right amount of persistence and a little luck you just might find yourself with a new truck driving career.


About the author

I’m Luis Uribe, author of this website. I am the owner and head publisher for Trucker Daily and a freight brokerage Total Connection Logistics. I have been in and around the trucking industry for over 15 years. It is my mission with Trucker daily to equip truck drivers, with the latest in industry updates, news, and helpful tips to help further your trucking career and life. Whether you are a truck driving veteran, or beginner, you will find information on this site to save you a lot of time in your driving journey.

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