Can Felons Drive for Lyft?
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Can Felons Drive for Lyft?

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When you get into a stranger’s car, you want to know that the driver has undergone a thorough background check. Lyft’s policy allows it to hire drivers with felony records but certain categories of offenses will disqualify a candidate.  

The type of felony and the amount of time passed will play a key part in whether the applicant can drive for Lyft. Additionally, Lyft now performs ongoing background checks to follow up on drivers after they have passed through the hiring process. 

Some states like California recognize the dangers inherent in accepting a Lyft or Uber ride and in response, have passed laws requiring more stringent background and criminal records checks. If you are injured in a Lyft accident despite these precautions, speak with a Lyft car accident lawyer as soon as possible. 

Who can drive for Lyft in Los Angeles? 

Lyft driver requirements vary by region because they are affected by local laws. To drive in Los Angeles, the requirements include: 

  • Vehicle – Access to an owned or rented vehicle with a California license plate, 2006 or newer, with four doors and seats 5-8 passengers, and does not appear on Lyft’s list of ineligible subcompact vehicles 
  • Driver – Possess a valid California driver’s license (unless the applicant is active duty military), at least 21 years old with one year of driving experience, pass a screening of driving history and criminal background, and have a smartphone that can download and run the Lyft Driver app 
  • Documents – Have California vehicle insurance, a driver profile photo, and proof of vehicle inspection 

A driver applicant needs to provide proof of these during the application, but Lyft now states that it will continually verify that drivers stay in compliance with the criminal record requirements even after hiring. 

What is included in a Lyft background check? 

The background check that Lyft conducts includes a review of the applicant’s driving record and criminal history. Applicants must provide their social security numbers, which are checked by the third-party company, Checkr, Inc. The check includes national and county databases, and also records from local courthouses. It will also search the federal sex offender registry and criminal records database. 

Thanks to relatively recent changes in California legislation, the background check for rideshare drivers now covers the applicant’s entire adult life rather than just the most recent seven years. The continuous monitoring is supposed to alert Lyft if the driver faces new criminal charges or convictions. 

What crimes will disqualify a potential Lyft driver 

Certain events will disqualify a potential driver no matter when they occurred. These include convictions for: 

  • A violent crime such as murder, kidnapping, arson, burglary, human trafficking, carjacking, robbery, or aggravated assault 
  • A sexual offense like rape, sexual assault, or child pornography, or listing on the National Sex Offender Registry database 
  • An act of terror 

Other offenses will prevent an applicant from working for Lyft if they occurred within the past seven years. These include convictions for: 

  • Misdemeanor assault or battery 
  • Domestic violence 
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs 
  • Certain felonies not listed above as permanent disqualifiers 

What happens if you are injured in a Lyft accident in California 

In some ways, a Lyft car accident is like any other traffic crashes but in other ways, it is very different. Since California is a fault-based state, there will be a question over who was at fault for the accident and the at-fault party will be legally responsible for the losses they cause. However, in Lyft accidents, there may be some disputes over whose auto insurance is primarily responsible and whether Lyft is liable for the actions of the driver. 

If there was evidence that the driver was not qualified to be working as a rideshare provider, Lyft could be held responsible for the damages caused by the driver. These situations present complex legal questions so you should speak with a Lyft car accident lawyer to make sure your rights are protected. 

Los Angeles law firm Ellis Injury Law serves injured clients throughout California. Our firm is committed to helping those who have suffered personal injuries recover maximum compensation for their losses. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury in a Lyft accident, call Ellis Injury Law today for a free consultation. 

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