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Can You Drive For a Rideshare Company With a DUI?

By San Diego Attorney on July 1, 2022

What is considered a DUI in California?

A DUI (driving under the influence) conviction in California arises from:

  • Driving with excess blood alcohol content (0.08% for people over 21, 0.04% for commercial drivers over 21, and 0.01% for all people younger than 21).
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol. This charge can be laid against people who have a blood alcohol level of less than 0.08%, but who are still displaying clear signs of intoxication.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs. These can range from illegal drugs like methamphetamines to prescription painkillers, and even over-the-counter sleeping pills.
  • Driving under the influence of both alcohol and drugs.
  • Driving while suffering from drug addiction.

Can you drive with a DUI?

Neither Uber or Lyft allows people who have had a DUI relating to drugs or alcohol in the last seven years to drive for them.

What other things do rideshare companies consider during the hiring process?

Uber and Lyft access your criminal record, as well as your DMV record, the National Sex Offender Registry, and other state criminal databases when vetting drivers. Sometimes these companies will employ drivers if they have other convictions dating from more than seven years ago, but certain offenses mean a driver is barred for life.

The things that Uber and Lyft flag in their background check are fairly similar. This is a non-exhaustive list of what Uber looks for:

  • More than three minor moving violations in the last three years. These can include speeding tickets, accidents, and failures to obey traffic laws. These will appear on your DMV record.
  • Any major moving violations in the last seven years. These include DUI and other violations such as reckless driving, included on your criminal and your DMV record.
  • Certain felonies such as violent crimes, serious assaults, sexual offenses, and terrorism offenses. According to Uber’s website these “will result in disqualification if they occurred at any time in your lifetime.”
  • Years of experience. If a driver is 24 or younger, they must have three years’ experience driving on a full license in America. Drivers over 25 must have one year driving experience.

Lyft looks for:

  • More than four minor moving violations in the last three years, included on your DMV record.
  • Any major violations in the last three years (reckless driving, driving while license suspended), which will appear on your DMV record and your criminal record.
  • DUI in the last seven years, as well as other serious driving-related convictions and certain other convictions (such as convictions for property offenses or fraud) that are not permanent disqualifiers.
  • Certain serious crimes including murder, aggravated assaults, terrorism, human trafficking, and sexual offenses mean that you will be unable to drive for life.
  • A Lyft driver in California must be 25 years or older, and must have held a driving license for at least a year.

In addition to the background check, both companies have regulations around what kind of car you can drive, and other requirements specific to the particular company and the city in which you’re operating.

What legal things affect DUI convictions?

  • Charges being dropped, or you being acquitted. If charges against you are pending, you will be unable to work as an Uber or Lyft driver, but once the case is resolved in your favor you will be able to reapply.
  • Expungement: Penal Code 1203.4 PC authorizes expungement for a misdemeanor or expungement for a felony offense. This means that the person’s conviction will essentially be erased from their criminal record. This is not available to everyone—there are some felony offenses, certain sexual crimes against children, which can never be expunged.
  • To receive an expungement for a conviction, you must have successfully completed your probation. You also must: a) have never been sentenced to jail; b) have been sentenced but only to county jail; or c) have been sentenced to state jail prior to 2014, for an offense that would only be punishable with county jail time now.
  • The judge takes into account things such as your performance on probation, the seriousness of the conviction, your criminal history, and other evidence including your ability to work, and your level of family and community support. If your expungement is successful, you no longer have to declare your conviction when asked if you have a criminal record. However, DUIs will remain on your DMV record, which is something to be aware of.

How can a lawyer help with this?

Being arrested and charged with DUI is stressful, particularly if it’s going to impact your chances of employment as a driver.

If your rideshare DUI case is before the court, your lawyer can put your side of the case forward and defend a charge of DUI for you.

If you have any convictions and you’re concerned they may jeopardize your chances of work as an Uber or a Lyft driver, a lawyer may also be able to advise you on whether you can get them expunged.

Contact jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys today at (760) 630-2000 to make an appointment with our highly experienced and knowledgeable team.

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