Truck Driving Schools and your Criminal Record
There are several stories out there about having a criminal record and getting into trucking as a career. The truth be told, a criminal record does not prevent you from attending a truck driving school and obtaining a commercial drivers license. Independent truck driving schools can train you to become a truck driver.
The rumors were started because major cross-country freight carriers often will not hire drivers with certain criminal records. This can greatly reduce the hiring potential of a student from the schools standpoint, so some schools will turn these potential students away.
The best way to find out if you can get a CDL is to ask the people that issue the license. First you must know the exact offenses and dates of prosecution. If you are unsure and do not have adequate records, you can obtain a copy of your criminal record from the State of California Department of Justice. Their phone number to request a copy of your criminal record is (916) 227-3849. After you are sure of the offenses and dates, make a trip down to the DMV to speak to attendant. Run over your criminal record with the Department of Motor Vehicles attendant and make sure you can qualify. It is a very simple process. Knowing your own background is the best way to get starting in a truck driving career. If you are unsure of dates of traffic violations, you may want to pick up a driving record while you are at the DMV.
The California Commercial Drivers Handbook will offer information on disqualifying offenses after you have obtained your CDL, but it does not outline preventative disqualifications. When obtaining your commercial drivers license, your class C California Drivers License does have to be valid and unencumbered by restrictions.
After discussing your personal situation with the Department of Motor Vehicles, depending on the outcome, you can proceed with seeking out a truck driving school that will meet your needs. When interviewing truck driving schools, be up front with them about your criminal record and the dates of the offenses. The school will ask questions about your record, so be prepared to answer them. When researching truck driving schools, be up front about your record and your criminal history. Misrepresenting the facts about your past may cause trouble down the road. Whether you have a misdemeanor or a felony, let the school know right up front so there are no surprises to you or the school. Criminal offenses that will not prevent you from obtaining a license, may prevent you from getting your desired work. Many over the road, or OTR, companies will not hire drivers that have certain types of criminal records. The truck driving schools that you interview with should know the current hiring standards of the trucking companies.
Being prepared to discuss your background accurately will be very helpful in your search for the right truck driving school.