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Can Felons Rent Cars? Exploring Rental Restrictions and Alternatives

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Yes, a felon can rent a car! Typically having a credit card and a valid drivers license is enough to rent a car. However, renting a car as a felon may not always be straightforward due to the policies of rental companies and potential legal restrictions. In this blog post, we’ll explore the challenges felons may face when trying to rent a car and provide alternatives and solutions.

Car Rental Policies and Background Checks

Car rental companies typically conduct background checks on potential customers to assess their risk. These checks often include inquiries into the renter’s driving history, credit score, and criminal record. While having a felony conviction on your record doesn’t automatically disqualify you from renting a car, it can complicate the process.

Felony Convictions and Rental Companies

Rental companies have different policies regarding felons renting cars, and these policies can vary from one company to another. Some companies may have strict prohibitions against renting to individuals with certain felony convictions, especially if the crime involved car theft, fraud, or violence.

However, there are rental companies that may be more lenient and consider each case on an individual basis. It’s essential to research rental companies’ policies and contact them directly to understand their specific requirements and limitations.

Car rental companies maintain “Do Not Rent” lists, effectively prohibiting certain individuals from renting vehicles. These listings typically arise due to incidents related to car rentals or unfavorable driver histories with previous rentals or other vehicles. It’s important to note that inclusion on such lists may not be permanent. In this article, we’ll delve into how your driver record can influence your eligibility to rent a car.

Will I Meet the Criteria for a Car Rental Based on My Driver Record?

Can felons rent cars? Blog post from felony record hub man driving a rental car.

When you opt to rent a car, you’ll be required to provide your driver’s license for verification purposes. Why? This step ensures your identity and checks the status of your driver record to guarantee the safety of the rental vehicle. If your driver record raises concerns, rental companies may take proactive measures to prevent potential damage or loss by declining your rental request.

Car rental companies have the responsibility to insure both their vehicles and drivers. However, insuring drivers with recent DUI (Driving Under the Influence) convictions can be costly. Consequently, rental companies often reject customers with recent DUI convictions.

Many car rental locations will contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that issued your license to confirm its validity. The DMV then provides the rental company with relevant driver record information. Your rental agreement will outline how your driver record impacts your rental eligibility. In most cases, companies retain the right to refuse rental if any of the following issues are revealed during the driver’s license verification process:

  1. Revoked, expired, suspended, or otherwise invalid license
  2. One or more DUI, DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), or DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) convictions in the last 48 months
  3. Leaving the scene of an accident within 36 months
  4. Failure to report an accident within 36 months
  5. Possession of a stolen vehicle
  6. Use of a vehicle in a crime
  7. Three or more moving violation convictions (excluding seatbelt violations) in the last 24 months
  8. Two or more accidents within 36 months
  9. Any other factors suggesting an unsatisfactory driver record

For individuals accumulating numerous points on their license, concerns about potential revocation are valid.

DUI, DWI & DWAIs and Their Impact on Car Rentals

A DUI conviction can have wide-ranging consequences, including implications for car rentals. According to Manuel J. Barba, a DUI defense attorney, most DUI convictions lead to license suspension and subsequent restrictions. In some cases, individuals may be limited to driving vehicles equipped with Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs). Barba further explains that those with restricted or suspended licenses will typically face rental restrictions for at least 48 months following a DUI conviction.

There are two situations where car rental companies commonly refuse service:

  1. A breathalyzer requirement on the driver’s license or the driver record check.
  2. The use of fake credentials during the car rental process.

If your driver’s license mandates driving with an IID, renting a car without one can be challenging, as most rental companies do not offer vehicles equipped with IIDs.

In reality, the majority of drivers successfully pass the driver record check. Often, drivers who are unaware of their suspended licenses are the ones prevented from renting a car. It’s important to note that renting a car with a suspended license or an invalid ID is not possible.

To navigate this issue effectively, consider reaching out to car rental companies and inquiring whether they would rent to someone with a driver record similar to yours. Ultimately, it’s advisable to proactively prevent and address DUI convictions before they negatively impact your lifestyle.

Alternatives for Felons Needing Transportation

  1. Peer-to-Peer Car Rentals: Platforms like Turo and Getaround allow individuals to rent their cars to others. These services may have more relaxed requirements compared to traditional rental companies.
  2. Public Transportation: Depending on your location, public transportation options such as buses, subways, and commuter trains can provide a cost-effective means of getting around.
  3. Bike Rentals and Ride-Sharing: In urban areas, bike rentals and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft can be convenient alternatives for short trips.
  4. Carpooling: Carpooling with friends, family members, or coworkers can help share the cost of transportation.
  5. Local Car Rentals: Smaller, locally-owned rental agencies may have more flexible policies and could be more willing to work with individuals with criminal records.
  6. Reentry Programs: Some organizations and reentry programs provide support to formerly incarcerated individuals, which may include assistance with transportation.

Legal Considerations

It’s crucial to be aware of any legal restrictions that may affect your ability to rent a car as a felon. These restrictions can vary by state and may pertain to certain types of felonies, such as violent or drug-related offenses. Consulting with a legal professional or your parole officer can help you navigate any potential legal barriers.


Renting a car as a felon can be challenging due to the policies of rental companies and potential legal restrictions. However, it’s not impossible, and there are alternatives and solutions available to meet your transportation needs. Researching rental companies, exploring peer-to-peer options, and considering public transportation can help you find reliable transportation and facilitate your reintegration into society. Always be aware of your legal rights and limitations to make informed decisions regarding car rentals.

So what do you think about this blog post Can Felons Rent Cars? Exploring Rental Restrictions and Alternatives. Have you or someone you know been in that situation where they got a rental car? What was that like and what happened? Please tell us in the comments below.

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