CDL Training

Can You Get a CDL With a Felony?


No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. However, some mistakes have more serious consequences than others. If you have a felony on your record, you may be wondering if you can get a commercial driver’s license (CDL)? The good news is that depending on the charge, you may still be able to get a CDL. The trucking industry is full of people who were given a second chance. While it won’t be easy, it is possible for felons to get a CDL and a great new start as truck drivers.

What felonies disqualify you from getting a CDL?

While it is possible to get a CDL with a felony on your record, there are offenses that will immediately disqualify you getting commercial driver’s license. These felonies include:

  • 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
  • Extortion
  • Arson
  • Treason
  • Operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or higher
  • Kidnapping
  • Assault with intent to murder
  • Bribery
  • Smuggling

Each state has their own additional laws in place that could also disqualify drivers from getting a CDL. It’s important to check with your state’s requirements before applying for your CDL to avoid being turned away.

Do you need a spotless driving record to be a truck driver?

Being a truck driver does not require a pristine driving record. A few minor infractions such as overdue parking tickets or speeding tickets should not stop you from getting a CDL license. Any misdemeanors that were taken care of in the past are usually not a problem, especially if they occurred more than five years ago. To improve your chances of getting hired, we do recommend that you clean up any minor infractions on your driving record.

Will trucking companies hire felons?

Now that you know a felons can be truck drivers, you’re probably wondering if anyone will hire you? The answer is yes. Some trucking companies will hire felons as CDL drivers. However, it will limit your job opportunities.

Each company has its own set of hiring requirements. If they are open to hiring felons, they may have a minimum year(s) since release. For example, will hire a felon 5 years after release.  

It is important to be honest with the CDL school and your potential employer. Background checks are part of the hiring process, so lying on your application is pointless. You will be further ahead to have an honest conversation to explain your situation.

We work with several companies who are open to hiring felons. Our career specialists can help you determine, based on your situation, if getting a CDL and ultimately a job is attainable.

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Interested in getting a CDL and starting an exciting career as a truck driver? Fill out the form below and a Career Specialist will be in touch to talk about tuition cost, training time and more.


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