Having a conviction can make it difficult to get a job, especially one that pays well. If you’re interested in pursuing a job in the trucking industry, it may be a good avenue for you to check out. . In spite of the extreme over-regulation (federal and state regulations) of the industry, a shortage of drivers has forced many trucking companies to simplify their hiring processes and incorporate more flexible employment policies.
Though many trucking companies do hire ex-cons, it is essential to remember that they don’t hire all ex-cons. Each company has a unique set of rules regarding hiring of truck drivers with a criminal background. In some companies, there is a requirement of a certain number of years to pass since the date you were convicted.
Since becoming a truck driver with a criminal record is possible for some BUT not all, PrisonConnect wants to help streamline the process for you. To help you avoid wasted time and money, let’s break down those complex regulations, company policies and laws.
How to get a CDL with a Conviction?
First of all, it is possible in most instances to get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with a conviction record. Most ex-cons are eligible to get a CDL from the state in which they reside. However, some factors can prevent you from getting a CDL:
- Convictions involving the operation of a commercial motor vehicle
- Absence of a valid driver’s license
- Less than 21 years old
- Failure to pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) medical exam
Also, with convictions involving DUI/DWI, you should consult your local state regulator or Department of Motor Vehicles regarding CDL eligibility.
Convictions That Will Prevent You from Getting a Truck Driver Job
There are some convictions that will automatically disqualify you from being eligible for employment with a trucking company. In some cases, they can even prevent you from getting a CDL. The most common of these offenses are:
- Two (2) DUI convictions WHILE having a CDL
- Reckless driving
- Interstate drug trafficking
- Homicide by vehicle
- Grand theft auto
- Any conviction involving a commercial vehicle
Some of the factors that most trucking companies consider are:
- The type of conviction
- Number of convictions
- Time that has passed since the conviction
- Company’s policy
Becoming a truck driver with a conviction
Check if you are suitable to obtain a CDL
Most ex-cons will get a CDL without any issues. However, there are few exceptions:
- Convictions involving the operation of a commercial motor vehicle;
- Absence of a valid driver’s license.
- Less than 21 years;
- Failed to pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) medical exam;
You should consult your local state regulator or Department of Motor Vehicles regarding DUI’s/DWI’s and CDL eligibility.
Find Out If You Meet The Trucking Company’s Requirements
Each trucking company has a unique policy regarding ex-cons. However, due to a shortage of truck drivers, it can be easier than you might think to get into this industry in spite of a criminal record. In many cases, trucking companies will refuse to hire you if you have been convicted of a felony within the last 5 years. Luckily, some companies hire on a case-by-case basis. We have provided a list for you below.
You can fill out an application even if you do not have your CDL yet! As with any job search, you should apply and talk to as many trucking companies as possible. Contact them directly and explain your circumstances clearly and honestly. Find out if they would be willing to hire you upon earning your CDL. You should NEVER lie about your conviction. Companies are required to perform a background check; if you lie, they will know, and you definitely won’t get the job!
It can take anywhere from three (3) to fourteen (14) days to be contacted after submitting your application. If the application is accepted and your conviction has been reviewed, the company may offer you a pre-hire letter. This is not an employment contract, it is a letter stating that you meet the requirements to attend orientation and then be employed. Good job!
Find out if you are Medically Qualified
Each truck driver must take a bi-annual medical exam to identify any health issues that could make it dangerous for you to be on the road. This assessment is called a DOT medical exam. Here is the list of possible reasons for failure of the exam:
- Severe color blindness
- Sleep apnea
- Poor uncorrected vision
- Missing limbs or other disabilities
- History of heart issues
- High blood pressure
It is wise to pass the DOT exam before completing driver training. Don’t waste your time and money on truck driving schools only to find out you aren’t able to pass the exam. In some cases, you may be unaware of a health issue that will cause you to fail the exam.
Acceptance into Truck Driving Schools
The majority of truck driving schools accept people with convictions. Be sure to check with the school you’re considering before spending any money with them!
Attending a truck driver orientation
After receiving the pre-hire letter, DOT medical exam results, and CDL, you will be invited to attend an orientation session. Each orientation is unique, but there are certain aspects of orientation you can expect regardless of the company.
- Training – on and off the road
- Road test
- Explanation of company policies
- Backing skill tests
Passing the orientation means that you are officially a truck driver!
List of Trucking Companies That Hire Ex-Cons
The following lists are broken down into categories based on hiring policies. The first list contains those companies who offer employment opportunities on a case-by-case basis:
- Werner Enterprises;
- USA Truck;
- US Express;
- Tyson Foods;
- Schneider National;
- Prime Inc;
- Navajo Express;
- Millis Transfer;
- Maverick Transportation;
- LCT Transportation;
- J & R Schugel;
- W Wylie;
- Covenant Transport;
- Conway Truckload;
- Carolina Cargo;
- Cardinal Logistics.
Opportunities requiring five (5) years since last conviction:
- Western express;
- Transway Inc.;
- TransAm Trucking;
- Paschall Truck Lines;
- Florilli Transportation;
- DeBoer Trucking Company;
- Carolina Cargo;
- Boyd Brothers;
Opportunities requiring seven (7) years since last conviction:
- Tango Transport;
- Stevens Transport;
- Roehl Transport;
- PGT Trucking;
- Melton Truck Lines;
- Knight Transportation;
- Interstate Distributor Co.;
- Groendyke Transport;
- Falcon Transport;
- Barr-Nunn Transportation;
Opportunities requiring ten (10) years since last conviction:
- TMC Transport;
- Swift Transportation;
- Shaffer Trucking;
- JBS Carriers;
- B. Hunt;
- Hunt Transportation;
- Dutch Maid Logistics;
- Dick Lavy Trucking;
- Crete Carrier;
- CR England;