Can You Drive for Uber if you Have a DUI?

For most people, it’s easy to start working as an Uber driver. All you have to do is fill out an application online, pass a background check, and you’re good to go, right?

Not always…

We all have things in our past that we aren’t proud of, but those things don’t usually prevent us from getting a job. But when it comes to Uber, it’s a bit of a different story. Today we’re answering the question that so many drivers want to know:

Can you drive for Uber if you have a DUI?

The short answer is no, you cannot drive for Uber if you’ve been convicted of a DUI (driving under the influence) within the last 7 years. Uber conducts criminal background checks and driving record checks to ensure all drivers meet certain safety standards. Lyft drivers face similar scrutiny.

Today, we’re breaking down all the details of what it takes to pass the background check and get hired as a driver for Uber. Keep reading for a complete list of what you can (and can’t) have on your background check.


Uber Driver Requirements

If you’re thinking about driving for Uber, it’s important to know what the basic requirements are. In most cities, you have to be at least 21 years old. However, in some cities, the minimum age requirement is 23. You also have to have a valid license, registration, and proof of insurance.

Related: Uber Driver Requirements [Full Guide]

When it comes to the vehicle itself, your car must meet its own set of criteria. It must be a 4-door vehicle that’s newer than 10 years old.

There are some additional requirements needed to drive for Uber’s higher service levels, such as Uber Black and UberXL. Those levels are a bit more challenging to qualify for, but most vehicles are eligible to drive for Uber X.


Uber Background Checks for DUI

For most interested drivers, the basic requirements are easy to meet. But those aren’t the only ones. You’ll also need to be able to pass a background check and a motor vehicle record review. The Uber background check usually takes between 5 to 7 days to clear. And, for some drivers, that can be a stressful waiting game.

To drive for Uber, you must consent to a background check. Uber uses a third party provider called Checkr to look into your history. It looks specifically for violent crimes, sexual offenses, and bad driving records.

The actual evaluation varies from city to city and is based on what local laws require. However, every potential driver will need to be able to pass the check, regardless of where you live.

The background check looks at a variety of different resources to determine if your record is clean. Checkr looks at county courthouse records, federal courthouse records, and motor vehicle records. They also check to see if you appear on the multi-state criminal database or the National Sex Offender Registry.

To pass the background check, you can’t have convictions for any felonies, violent crimes, or sexual offenses within the last 7 years (in most states).

The vast majority of people don’t have any of these charges on their record, so most background checks come back clear.

The motor vehicle record review, on the other hand, is a different story. In fact, it’s the motor vehicle record review that some people find hard to pass…

If you’ve submitted your background check and haven’t heard back yet, you can always contact Uber or Checkr to see the status of your report.

Contacting Uber directly can be tricky, so you’re much better off reaching out to Checkr instead. To contact Checkr, visit the Checkr applicant portal. You can view the status of your background check and request a copy for your records.

If your background check is complete and you still haven’t heard from Uber, you can try contacting them at help.uber.com. In most cases, you should receive a reply within 24 hours.


What You Need to Pass the Motor Vehicle Record Review

Working for Uber means lots and lots of driving. So it comes as no surprise that the motor vehicle record review is a crucial step in the hiring process.

Like the background check, laws and regulations vary from city to city. But in general, you must have one year of driving experience under your belt. If you’re under the age of 23, three years of driving experience are required. Keep in mind that international driving experience does not count.

To pass the review, you’ll need to have a clean motor vehicle report. That means you can’t have more than three incidents in the past three years.

You also cannot have any speeding violations of more than 20 miles over the speed limit for the past three year period. And while this may seem like a small infraction, it will prevent you from passing the review and prohibit you from driving for Uber.

But that’s not all you have to worry about…

You also can’t have any incidents of reckless driving, hit and run, or fleeing from a cop on your record.

And, to answer the question that everyone wants to know:

You absolutely CANNOT have any DUIs or drug-related offenses for the past 7 years. Some states are even stricter – in California, for example, your record cannot include any DUI convictions or drug offenses for the past 10 years.


Can I Drive for Uber if my DUI Case was Dismissed?

If you’ve ever had a DUI or known anybody with one, you know that it can be a tedious (and expensive) legal battle. Even if you had a DUI case that was dismissed or charges that were dropped, it’s still possible for the charge to appear on your record.

For drivers who know that a case was dropped or dismissed, it is possible to still work for Uber. But you’ll need to be prepared to give them an explanation. In some cases, having the legal assistance of an attorney can be quite helpful.


Uber Does Annual Background Checks

Just because you pass your first background check and motor vehicle review doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Uber annual checks driver’s criminal records. So if you’ve run into some trouble since you started working for Uber, you could lose the privilege of driving for the company.

Uber announced new safety standards back in April 2018, and those new standards include the fact that they will rerun checks on existing drivers. Part of the new safety standards includes the use of New Offense Notifications.

With New Offense Notifications, Uber will be informed if a current driver gets DUI charges or is charged with another serious offense. Uber receives an alert whenever a driver has a new arrest record, though the arrest itself won’t cause you to lose your driving privileges. But Uber can suspend you if you receive criminal charges for that arrest.

The bottom line is this: if you’ve gotten a DUI since you started working for Uber, you’re going to run into some trouble.

Even if it’s a first-time offense, Uber takes drunk driving seriously. Consult with a DUI lawyer for legal advice if don’t think your charges are warranted.

To get and keep your Uber job, you’ve got to maintain a clean driving record at all times. Driving safely while you’re on the job isn’t enough. You need to always keep your standards high and maintain safe driving practices, even when you’re driving on your own time.

It is possible that you may lose access to the Uber app for having a new DUI arrest appear in Uber’s records. But if the charges were dismissed, you can dispute the issue. Once the dispute has been reviewed, it’s possible that you can be reinstated as an approved Uber driver.

If Uber refuses to reinstate you, you can try and reapply in 3 to 6 months. There’s no guarantee you’ll be re-hired, but if you really want the job, you can try to apply again.


Offenses That Disqualify You from Driving For Uber

Before you spend the time applying to drive for Uber, think long and hard about your past. If you know that you have criminal offenses or a bad driving record, applying is a waste of time.

Here is a list of prior and current offenses that will disqualify you from driving for Uber and other ridesharing services:

  • Felony convictions
  • Convictions for violent crimes
  • Convictions for sexual offenses
  • Placement on the sex offender registry
  • Child abuse or child endangerment convictions
  • Reckless driving violations
  • Hit and run convictions
  • Convictions from fleeing from an officer of the law
  • Using a vehicle to commit a felony
  • DUI charges
  • Drug-related driving offenses
  • Pending charges for all of the above-listed felonies, violent crimes, and sexual offenses. (If you have a case pending, it’s best to wait to apply until the charges are dropped or the case dismissed).
  • Recent minor driving violations. (These include illegal U-turns, speeding, failure to yield, improper passing, and driving with expired registration).

Any of these offenses will disqualify you from driving for Uber. And that means you can also count out passing the background check for all other rideshare services as well.


Side Hustles That Don’t Involve Driving

If you have a DUI on your record, you won’t be able to drive for Uber or any other ridesharing service. Lyft, Via, and Juno all have similar policies and perform similar background checks. If you’re a potential driver with a DUI in your past, it may be time to start looking for a different side hustle.

Unfortunately, that DUI will also disqualify you from popular delivery gigs. Like ridesharing services, delivery services require that you drive from place to place. So if you’ve got a DUI on your record, you can also forget about working for companies such as GrubHub, DoorDash, and Postmates.

Luckily for drivers that do have DUI offenses, there are lots of other side hustles you can do.

Related: 35 Side Hustles You Can Start Today

Check out apps like TaskRabbit and Handy. You can find work cleaning houses, moving boxes, and assembling furniture. You can perform tasks such as hanging shelves, hanging light fixtures, or even painting. These jobs don’t require the use of a vehicle, so your driving record shouldn’t prevent you from finding work.

If you’re an animal lover, consider walking dogs or pet sitting through apps such as Rover or Care.com. Like rideshare drivers, you can set your own schedule, work flexible hours, and pick and choose the neighborhood in which you want to work.

When it comes to finding a side hustle, don’t let your DUI trip you up. It may prevent you from driving, but there are lots of other gig economy jobs that you can do that don’t require a car.

Get creative and explore other avenues. There are new gig economy jobs popping up all the time, so keep your eyes and ears open for ones that you can do without a vehicle.


The Bottom Line

Here’s the bottom line: if you want to drive for Uber, Lyft, or any other ridesharing or delivery service, you need to prove that you’re a safe driver. And having a DUI offense on your record proves the opposite.

DUIs are serious business – and they should be treated as such. No one wants the liability of hiring someone with a bad driving record, especially when the job requires keeping passengers safe. If you have a DUI or any other criminal charge, you can say goodbye to working as a professional driver.

If you think you might be able to pass a background check even with that DUI on your record, you can always try applying. The worst that will happen is that the company will reject your application – and you’ll be no worse off than you were before you applied.

However, if you know that your DUI is from 6 years ago, it’s best to wait and apply when the charge is more than 7 years old. If you apply and get rejected, you’ll have to wait 3 to 6 months to apply again.

And remember this: passing your first background check isn’t enough. Uber recently started doing annual background checks on existing drivers. So if you’ve gotten a DUI or another serious charge in the interim between background checks, you could be in jeopardy of losing your job.

Do yourself and everyone on the road a favor and don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking or taking drugs. DUIs will only cost you time and money – money that you’ll never be able to make back as a driver for Uber, Lyft, or any other rideshare service.

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