Driving for Uber, Lyft, or Other Ridesharing Companies with a Criminal Record

April 27, 2016

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  • The debate about Uber, Lyft, and other ride sharing companies has come under scrutiny over the last year for the manner in which they perform background checks on their drivers. Many cities across the country have enacted laws intended to impose more stringent background checks on drivers for ride sharing companies. In some cases, Uber has stayed put despite legislation imposing stricter background check requirements. In other cities, Uber has followed through with its threats to leave, and ceased operations after stricter background checks became mandated.

    Requiring more stringent background checks for ride sharing companies has been of particular interest to our law firm, Eastman Meyler PC, as we are based in downtown Austin, Texas, a city currently voting on this type of law. Our law firm focuses on criminal record removal services such as expungements and record sealing in 14 different states. I will refrain from expressing my personal opinion on laws requiring enhanced background checks for ride sharing companies. Instead, I will focus on the criminal background checks currently in place for Uber and Lyft, what is proposed, and how expunging or sealing a criminal record can ensure you pass a background check that you might otherwise fail.

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    Current Ride sharing Background Checks

    In cities that have not passed laws and ordinances requiring enhanced background checks, Uber uses Checkr, an accredited background check company which provides rapid, less expensive background checks for companies, based on the company’s own requirements. For Uber, their general requirements in terms of criminal background checks are that you have not been convicted of misdemeanors or felonies involving theft, violence, drugs, or driving under the influence over the last 7-10 years (depending on the state and offense). While it’s very important that Uber’s drivers are adequately screened for the public’s safety, there are many crimes that should not prevent somebody from driving for Uber. For example, if a person was caught stealing something seven years ago, and has since stayed out of trouble, I don’t feel that mistake should prevent them from driving for Uber.

    While neither Lyft nor Uber are completely transparent and clear with what actually causes you to fail their background check, Lyft appears to be stricter to an extent, disqualifying potential drivers with convictions for: violent crimes, felonies, drug-related offenses, sexual offenses, and certain theft or property damage offenses. As with Uber’s policy described above, it is important for Lyft to have these policies in place to protect the public, however, these background check policies also often prevent many otherwise law-abiding people from becoming a Lyft driver due to one mistake in the past.

    Proposed Enhanced Background Checks

    While the specifics of these laws vary from city-to-city, local laws imposing stricter requirements on ride sharing drivers generally require ride sharing companies to use stricter, more thorough background checks, often requiring a Live Scan fingerprinting. There are plenty of Live Scan locations, and the process is relatively inexpensive. However, getting fingerprints taken requires the prospective driver to physically go to a Live Scan location and pay to have their fingerprints taken. This inconvenience makes it harder for ride sharing companies to sign up drivers, which is bad for a business that relies on having as many drivers on the road at any given time as possible. While these new regulations are not completely unreasonable, I do understand the position of Uber and Lyft. With that said, a more thorough search like a Live Scan will typically be more accurate than a background check service like Checkr, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    What You Can Do to Eliminate a Criminal Record to Pass a Background Check

    If you have a criminal offense on your record which may prevent you from passing Uber, Lyft, or another ride sharing company’s background check, you may be able to clear up your criminal record using the legal system, and not have to worry about being prevented from driving an Uber or Lyft. WipeRecord, a division of Eastman Meyler PC, focuses on providing criminal record removal services such as expungements and record sealing in 16 states. While your ability to qualify for an expungement, record sealing, conviction set aside, or other similar service depends on the state of the offense and your specific circumstances, many of our customers are very surprised when they qualify. Being able to legally state that you have not been convicted of a crime for employment purposes is incredibly valuable, particularly with companies such as Uber and Lyft, which have strict policies on criminal records.

    Each state’s expungement rules are different, and the process is typically difficult to navigate without an attorney experienced in these matters. Our law firm is happy to help guide you through the process—we strongly encourage you to take our FREE, confidential Eligibility Test or give us a call toll free at (844) 947-3732 to discuss your eligibility and the process of expunging a criminal record. The process can be as fast as about a month, or take an entire year—the quicker you contact us, the quicker we can get to work getting you on the road driving for a ride sharing company by helping you put your past mistakes permanently behind you!

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