How an expungement of a criminal conviction may help you drive for Uber and Lyft

Uber and Lyft under increased pressure for more intensive background checks

Uber and Lyft have conducted their own background checks on drivers in most states with little or no oversight and have used lobbyists to shape legislation that would regulate how they perform background checks on drivers. However, under a demand for more protection for passengers from drivers’ with criminal records, many drivers are being terminated from driving for Uber and Lyft.

Uber background checks

  • Uber conducts a Motor Vehicle Record review and a criminal background check on prospective drivers.
    Drivers are excluded if they:
    • are registered on the United States Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Web site;
    • have been convicted of any of certain terrorism-related felonies or a violent felony at any time;
    • within the previous 7 years, have been convicted of misdemeanor assault or battery, any domestic violence offense, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or any of a specified list of felonies. Uber uses a driver’s social security number to look at the driving record and criminal history.

Expungement (dismissal) of convictions

Individuals who were not sentenced to state prison are eligible to petition for an expungement or dismissal of a conviction. The petition is a request to withdraw a plea of guilty or ‘no contest ‘ or the guilty verdict and enter a not guilty plea. If the court grants the petition, the conviction is aside and the conviction is dismissed. The individual is no longer considered to be “convicted” of the offense. The criminal record will be changed to show a dismissal rather than a conviction.

Effect of expungement

Consequences of dismissal: The defendant’s criminal record is not erased or sealed when Pen. Code, § 1203.4 relief is granted, rather an entry of “dismissed” is made next to the disposition of the case. The records of an expunged conviction are accessible to the public (People v. Field, 31 Cal. App. 4th 1778 (4th Dist. 1995)).

• Expungement does not eradicate a conviction or purge a defendant of the guilt established by it, but merely frees him or her from certain penalties and disabilities of a criminal nature.
• Even after the record is expunged, the prior conviction may be pleaded and proved in a subsequent proceeding and have the same effect as though probation had not been granted or the accusation dismissed.
• In addition, the defendant must disclose the conviction in response to a direct question in a questionnaire or application for public office, for licensing by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery. A defendant whose record has been expunged is still not permitted to possess a firearm capable of being concealed on his or her person.
See: CA Penal § 1203.4.

Background checks and expungements

Lab. Code, § 432.7 has been amended to make it a crime for employers to ask about or utilize in employment decisions “expunged” or “sealed” convictions under Pen. Code, §§ 1203.4, 1203.4a, 1203.45 (juvenile misdemeanors sealing rights), and 1210.1 (Prop 36 non-violent drug possession).

The statute does not prohibit an employer from asking an applicant about a criminal conviction if any of the following four exceptions apply: (1) the employer is required by law to obtain information regarding a conviction of an applicant; (2) the applicant would be required to possess or use a firearm in the course of his or her employment; (3) an individual who has been convicted of a crime is prohibited by law from holding the position sought by the applicant, regardless of whether that conviction has been expunged, judicially ordered sealed, statutorily eradicated, or judicially dismissed following probation; (4) the employer is prohibited by law from hiring an applicant who has been convicted of a crime.

How the Uthman Law Office can help clean your record

The experienced lawyers and legal professionals at the Uthman Law Office have prepared dozens of successful expungement petitions with detailed declarations. We provide Court with evidence of your rehabilitation and the burden and stigma a criminal conviction has had over your life.

If you face a barrier to employment because of a criminal conviction, call us today at (415) 556-9200 to schedule a free consultation. We can assist you in removing obstacles to employment.