Becoming a commercial truck driver is the easiest career option for a felon. Such a position doesn’t require higher education or other qualifications. This is why most felons attempt to become a commercial truck driver.
Every commercial truck driver is familiar with the Hazmat Endorsement in the US. Gaining a Hazmat Endorsement is also a necessary step besides getting a CDL. You can’t become a commercial driver in the US without a Commercial Driver’s License or CDL.
A US civilian can get his Hazmat Endorsement effortlessly. The scenario however is a bit different for a felon. A felon goes through multiple hardships while getting a Hazmat Endorsement. Some felons are not even eligible to get that.
In this article, you will understand if a felon can get the Endorsement or not.
What Is A Hazmat Endorsement?
As a felon, you need to know more about a Hazmat Endorsement before you proceed further. The Transportation Security Agency conducts a threat assessment of every driver in the US. The organization also analyzes the driver’s potentials to become a commercial driver. They especially check the driver’s security knowledge while transporting hazardous material.
The word ‘Hazmat’ is short for the term ‘Hazardous Materials.’ Explosives, weapons, and other dangerous materials fall under the category of hazardous materials. The threat assessment determines if the driver is safe for transporting such materials. Hazmat Endorsement is a mandatory aspect of becoming a commercial truck driver. Let’s check out the standard procedure of getting a Hazmat Endorsement.
The Basic Criteria Of A Hazmat Endorsement
- Being a US citizen is the primary criterion for a Hazmat Endorsement. The applicant is supposed to be a permanent resident of the US. Foreigners are not eligible for applying for this. An applicant also needs to submit his citizenship proof along with the application. An application without a citizenship document is considered invalid.
- Applicants under the age of 21 are not allowed to apply for Hazmat Endorsements.
- Every candidate has to go through the DOT physical exam. This physical exam checks a candidate’s physical condition and physical abilities. Getting a Hazmat Endorsement is not possible without passing this exam.
- Apart from this, a candidate also has to pass the Hazmat Endorsement Knowledge test. This is the most important condition for getting your Hazmat Endorsement granted.
- Applying for the Endorsement without an authorized CDL is useless. Candidates should possess a valid CDL issued by their respective states.
- Lastly, the TSA conducts mandatory background checks of candidates. They check for candidates’ criminal records through these background checks. A clearance certificate after the background check is essential for a Hazmat Endorsement.
Both felons and non-felons need to meet these basic requirements. Otherwise, they cannot get their Hazmat Endorsements issued.
Can A Felon Get A Hazmat Endorsement?
Felons are less likely to get Hazmat Endorsements than normal citizens. The TSA investigates every felon’s account thoroughly. The department authorizes a felon’s Hazmat Endorsement after in-depth considerations. Felons however still stand a chance to get Hazmat Endorsements.
Felons with certain felonies however cannot get Hazmat Endorsements. The TSA has strict guidelines and regulations for felons in terms of Hazmat Endorsements. The organization doesn’t consider all felons for Endorsements.
The felons that get disqualified include:
1 Felons accused of dealing, supplying, and possessing explosive weapons are barred.
2 The organization doesn’t allow murderers’ to apply. Don’t apply if you were convicted for murder or attempt to murder.
3 Involvement in material transportation accidents can also lead to rejection. Such a conviction is a major drawback in this process.
4 Treason and conspiracy are treated as merciless crimes. The TSA doesn’t entertain felons with such felonies.
5 Violent criminals stand the least chance of getting Hazmat Endorsements.
6 Criminals with smuggling and extortion convictions are also not eligible.
7 Rapists and sexual abusers are called unforgivable criminals. These criminals cannot get Hazmat Endorsements.
8 Robbery and kidnapping related felonies are also not entertained by the authorities.
The TSA authority generally gives a chance to felons to explain their felonies. A felon with a clear and justified explanation gets consideration. The department is authorized to take a final call about an application after the explanation is provided.
How Can A Felon Apply For A Hazmat Endorsement?
Most US states have dedicated application centers for Hazmat Endorsements. Such application centers however are not present in some states. Hazmat Endorsement application centers are absent in:
- New York
The applicants from these states have to apply in the local motor vehicle departments. All other states have dedicated application centers to help applicants.
1 An applicant needs to apply through online or offline mode. You can visit https://www.tsa.gov/ for online application submission. You can also submit your application at a local application center.
2 An applicant has to register his fingerprint with the TSA database. The local application center can also complete this process.
3 The next step is arranging an appointment. You can book your appointment online easily. An authorized official interviews the applicant. The interviews can also be walk-in.
4 Every applicant has to pay a certain amount as the application fee. This fee is generally not refundable. The validity of this fee is five years. The candidate however has to renew his Endorsement after five years. He will have to pay the allotted fee at that time as well. At present, the application fee for Hazmat Endorsement is $67. The fee structure changes from time to time, and the authority decides the fee structure.
5 An applicant is free to check his application status online. They can check the status through the website mentioned above.
This is the standard procedure of applying for a Hazmat Endorsement. Both felons and non-felons, need to go through this procedure.
Will A Felon’s CDL Become Invalid Without A Hazmat Endorsement?
No, a felon can still be a commercial driver without a hazmat endorsement. He however cannot transport hazardous materials. The Endorsement authorizes a driver to drive a truck full of hazardous materials. Without that Endorsement, a driver can drive commercial trucks and cabs.
Can A Felon Apply For A Hazmat Endorsement Again?
The TSA generally allows a felon to submit his application after a failed attempt. Most felons however get disqualified after their background checks. The re-application is completely dependent upon the authority’s decision. The TSA usually allows an applicant to re-apply within 60 days after a failed attempt.
How Long Will You Have To Wait Before Getting A Hazmat Endorsement?
The authorities take 1 to 2 months to complete the procedure. The Hazmat Endorsement Test and the background check consumes a lot of time. The Endorsement test requires up to a few weeks. The test however can get completed within a few days too.
An applicant also has to wait for 30 to 45 days for the background check completion. This is why you should keep the deadline as 1 to 2 months after application.
A felon shouldn’t give up his hopes about getting a Hazmat Endorsement. You should also check the eligibility criteria mentioned above to get the Endorsement. Thousands of felons get Endorsements every year. You can also get your Endorsement by following the guidelines.
Felons face hardships when applying for various things after their release. Hazmat enforcement is not necessarily difficult to get. All one needs is the right skillset and the will to improve in life.