Enter your search term

Search by title or post keyword

Can a Felon Get a Hazmat Endorsement?

Our website is supported by our users. We sometimes earn affiliate links when you click through the affiliate links on our website

Contact us for Questions

Have you just been released from prison? If so, you know you face major challenges, including finding a job. You may not have the best job skills. Truck driving can be a great opportunity to begin again.

Some who become truck drivers get a Hazmat endorsement which allows them to transport dangerous materials.

Let’s take a look at whether felons can get a Hazmat endorsement.

In this article, we’ll cover the following:

 

  • Getting a CDL
  • What Is a Hazmat Endorsement?
  • How Do You Get a Hazmat Endorsement?
  • Can a Felon Get a Hazmat Endorsement?
  • What Felonies Disqualify You From Getting a Hazmat Endorsement?
  • Hazmat Endorsement Background Check?
  • What if You Fail the Background Check?
  • Can You Reapply for a Hazmat Endorsement?
  • Recommended Action

 

 

Getting a CDL

Let’s take a look at what is required to get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). This is first step in getting a Hazmat endorsement (H).

To get a CDL, you must first apply to a truck driving school and complete their training course. This will involve studying and passing a written test along with a road test.

Among the qualifications that you must meet to be accepted into a truck driving school, is a driving record background check by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). 

You will be disqualified from obtaining a CDL if you were convicted within the past seven years or released from prison in the last five years for any of the following crimes:

  • Felony conviction for vehicular manslaughter
  • Trafficking or distribution of controlled substances, materials, or weapons
  • Other felonies that could prevent you from obtaining a federal CDL are: 
  • Bribery
  • Extortion, Arson
  • Treason
  • Kidnapping
  • Assault with intent to murder

Remember that each driving school sets its own standards for admission. Be sure to check those in the state in which you plan to reside.

What Is a Hazmat Endorsement?

The world changed dramatically after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. 

Then, Congress passed new Homeland Security legislation known as the PATRIOT Act. This created the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) with authority over much of the transportation industry, including trucking.

The TSA along with the U.S. Department of Transportation established rules to secure the transport of hazardous materials, including explosives. Federal law requires a security threat assessment on commercial drivers certified to transport hazardous materials (Hazmat endorsement). 

How Do You Get a Hazmat Endorsement?

You need to know the requirements to get a Hazmat endorsement. To apply for a Hazmat endorsement, you must be at least 21 years of age and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You must pass a DOT physical.

You must have a valid CDL in the state where you reside. Also, you must pass the Hazardous Materials Endorsement Knowledge test and pass a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) criminal background check.

You must not have committed any disqualifying crimes. Some crimes will permanently disqualify you, including: 

  • Treason
  • Terrorism
  • Murder
  • Illegal handling of explosives

Other crimes will bar you from a Hazmat endorsement only temporarily or may be waived if you appeal it. These crimes include: 

  • Assault
  • Weapons violation
  • Drug dealing

Consult your state and the TSA for a complete list of disqualifying crimes.

Can a Felon Get a Hazmat Endorsement?

This of course is an essential question. A felon can get a Hazmat endorsement depending on certain criteria. There are always the qualifying factors that you as a felon must pay attention to.

Just know that it is possible and don’t get discouraged. There is hope. Let’s take a look at what is involved and the factors that could prevent you from obtaining a hazmat endorsement.

What Felonies Disqualify You From Getting a Hazmat Endorsement?

You will be permanently disqualified from having a Hazmat endorsement on a CDL if you are convicted of any of the following crimes:

  • Espionage
  • Sedition
  • Treason
  • Transportation security incident
  • Improper transportation of a hazardous material
  • Unlawful possession, use, sale, purchase, receipt, or dealing in an explosive device
  • Murder
  • Conspiracy or attempt to commit any of these crimes

Conviction for one of the following felonies is disqualifying if you were convicted, pled guilty (including ‘no contest’), or found not guilty by reason of insanity within seven years of the date of the application; 

Also, if you were released from incarceration after conviction within five years of the date of the application, the following felonies will also disqualify you:

  • Unlawful possession, use, sale, or dealing in a firearm 
  • Extortion
  • Dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation
  • Bribery
  • Smuggling
  • Immigration violations
  • Distribution or possession of a controlled substance
  • Arson
  • Kidnapping
  • Rape or aggravated sexual abuse
  • Assault with intent to kill
  • Robbery
  • Fraudulent entry into a seaport 

Hazmat Endorsement Background Check?

Of course, just as with applying for most jobs, there is a background check that is required as part of the application process to get a Hazmat endorsement.

The TSA application for a Hazmat endorsement along with your fingerprints must be submitted to TSA for the threat assessment or background check. The background check will look for the disqualifying felonies as listed above.

If any of these show up, it will result in failing the background check and not being able to get a Hazmat endorsement.

What if You Fail the Background Check?

Sometimes, an applicant will fail the TSA background check.

Not passing the background check will not result in having your CDL revoked. You just cannot carry hazardous materials.

Remember that the U.S. Patriot Act changed the requirements for issuing a hazardous materials (H) endorsement to a Commercial Driver’s License, making the requirements stricter with more reliance on a background check.

It will be more challenging to pass as a result. But, it isn’t the end of the world.

Can You Reapply for a Hazmat Endorsement?

If you do not pass the background check, you may appeal within 60 days of the decision. Depending on the results of that appeal, you may be allowed to reapply for the Hazmat endorsement. This decision will be up to the TSA to decide.

Recommended Action

Felons who want to become a truck driver and obtain a Hazmat endorsement should be honest in all information that they present.

Be sure to enlist the support of family and friends.

Don’t be defined by your crime. You can move beyond your past and start over.

You are not defined by your crime but in how you recover from it. Don’t get discouraged and give up. Be persistent in reaching your goal of getting a Hazmat endorsement.

Truck driving is a good choice. Having a Hazmat endorsement on your CDL can increase your chances of getting a truck driving job.

What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know with a felony tried to get a Hazmat endorsement? What was that like, and what happened? Please tell us in the comments below.

17 thoughts on “Can a Felon Get a Hazmat Endorsement?”

  1. this is incorrect. it depends on the felony. you will get denied upon initial application but if the felony does not have anything to do with theft and/or moving drugs while driving a truck you can appea the denial and get your hazmat. i have several friends including myself that have hazmat endorsements with fresh felonies.

    Reply
    • When you say fresh felonies what does that mean. B cause I have multiple felonies. But they were 5 years ago. I’ve been waiting to have the money to get my record sealed witch takes at least 5yrs. To even ask for it. So you’re saying I’ve been waiting for nothing.. or what. Need to know this thanx ?????????

      Reply
  2. Dismissed felony with no conviction and expunged can get a hazmat? The charge or charges was dismissed and expunged so would there be an issue?

    Reply
  3. Ok, I was released march 14 2014
    I completed my sentence for robbery. I’ve been working since my 2nd day out, and I’ve held my cdl two years now. Haven’t had too many problems finding a job at all. So, I can’t get my hazmat until next year March 14th which is like.. 3 1/2 months from now. If I went ahead and file for it now does anyone know if it’ll go through? Or should I wait until that exact date? I’d really appreciate the advice.
    Sincerely, Tray

    Reply
  4. Well I have a felony and I’m currently trying to get my hazemat.i passed the written test just waiting for background check.

    Reply
  5. I was released from the BOP in September of 2017 and went to a truck driving school in September of 2018 and had no problems getting a CDL. The charge was felon in possession of a firearm.

    Reply
  6. I was released from the BOP in May of 2017 to the halfway house released from there in Nov. 2017, also I was released from Probation in May of 2019, I have held a CDL class A since 95, even in BOP custody, I want to add Hazmat endorsement and was wondering if someone could explain how to go through the process of appealing a denial of adding the endorsement, My charge was conspiracy to possess, distribute and or manufacture a controlled substance. Thank you

    Reply
  7. I had my hazmat endorsement before, I let it expire. now they came up with this fingerprinting and background check. I have a felony will they stop me from receiving the endorsement again. my license been clean. and I have a job requiring H endorsement.

    Reply
  8. I was released in Sept. 2016. I am still on parole.

    I got my CDL in 2018. I applied for a Hazmat endorsement which required a TSA background check. Since my crimes fell under “Aggravated Sexual Abuse” I was disqualified for having a Hazmat endorsement.

    I was given an option to request a waiver from the disqualification if I could prove that I was rehabilitated enough and that I was not a threat to national security. I applied for the waiver by sending a packet of letters of reference and my own explanation of my criminal actions and my current rehabilitation activities.

    I was granted the waiver and was able to get a job with a petroleum company hauling fuel around Southern California. (My PO also gave me permission to travel out-of-county.)

    When I applied for a TWIC (which is a kind of security clearance to go into harbors and Ports of Entry) I needed another waiver. I got it as well.

    So, in my opinion, if you are a parolee and you want to be a commercial truck driver, you can get a Hazmat endorse and a TWIC, in most cases, but you have to be persistent.

    Reply
    • Jeff,
      A really good job opportunity for me has come about and it’s very similar to yours. I need this hazmat endorsement bad… please give me some advice.

      Reply
    • Jeffrey,
      Once you applied for the waiver, how long did they take? I recently applied for waiver and waiting for response. My charge is assault with deadly weapon.

      Reply
  9. Will I be denied a hazmat if I have 2 dismissals? 1 for attempted obtain property false pretense and 1 for attempted obstruction, both felonies. But again, they were dismissed.

    Reply
  10. I am recently got a job with a trucking company and wasn’t able to take it because I have some possession charges on my record. I am a changed man. And it’s almost 20 years since the offense happened. And 16 since I was convicted. I would appreciate any help or advice you could give me to help me get a hazmat endorsement. I really need it. Thank you.

    Reply
  11. So you said

    “You will be disqualified from obtaining a CDL if you were convicted within the past seven years or released from prison in the last five years for any of the following crimes:

    Felony conviction for vehicular manslaughter
    Trafficking or distribution of controlled substances, materials, or weapons”

    I was released from prison August 21st 2021 for several drug manufacturing and distribution cases. I have had my CDL now since October 2021 and been driving over the road since November 2021 and it is now April of 2022. I got my CDL in Missouri but I doubt that makes a difference. Truck driving has changed my life. It’s definitely not what I want to do for the rest of my life but it has provided me plenty of money to pursue my goals in life. As of this week (Easter 2022) ive started my own business (something not related to trucking) but I’m still driving until this business becomes something sustainable.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Explore More within Felony Record Hub

Jobs for Felons
Get to work faster with jobs for felons curated for you.
post explore

How we help

This website was created by a few folks who have personally watched their loved ones struggle to get a job due to having a felony.

Your New Life Starts Here.

logo frh no text
icon jobs

Jobs for Felons

Get to work faster with jobs for felons curated for you.

icon housing

Housing for Felons

Find housing for felons, listed by state.

icon legal

Legal Help

The legal help you need to put your past behind you

icon rights

Rights For Felons

Learn how you can get your rights back as a felon.

icon companies hiring

Companies Hiring Felons

Finding employment as a felon is tough. That’s why we have aggregated the best jobs for felons in one spot.

icon programs

Reentry Programs

Resources to help ex-offenders gain essential life skills for making the right choices in life.