Lyft, Uber Drivers Will Not Need Fingerprint Checks, California Rules

In a unanimous 5-0 vote at the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC), state utility regulators voted to require annual background checks for drivers at Uber, Lyft, and other ride-share companies, but decided not to subject them to the fingerprinting required of taxi drivers. Instead, rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber will be required to use contractors accredited by national association of background screeners and report the results to the state commission. They must examine criminal records and disqualify drivers who have been convicted of violent felonies or sex crimes, or convicted of driving under the influence within the last seven years.

PUC members said that the changes would strengthen the previous rules, which barred drivers with certain types of criminal records and registered sex offenders but did not require periodic background checks. They rejected the arguments of taxi drivers that ride share companies needed to do the same thing because “the costs outweigh the benefits.” Because ride-share drivers are their own independent contractors, the cost of paying for their own fingerprinting would be an unfair economic burden born by the individual, and not the company.  The PUC claims that fingerprint records, which go through an FBI database, are not always accurate and could disproportionately affect minority drivers.

Advocates of fingerprinting, such as the taxi companies, say the new requirements have failed to spot drivers with criminal records.

Fingerprint Background Checks

The California Department of Justice (DOJ) is mandated to maintain the statewide criminal record repository for the State of California. Sheriffs, police, probation departments, district attorney offices, and courts have to submit arrest information. The DOJ uses all this information to compile “RAP sheets” which are criminal records of arrest and prosecution. RAP sheets are based upon fingerprint submissions.

While all criminal background check requests must be authorized by statute, some are mandatory while others are permissive. Background checks have become the norm, for employers, rental agencies, etc.

In California, fingerprinting must be performed by a certified fingerprint roller or qualified law enforcement personnel. The live scan operator checks the applicant’s identification, inputs the applicant’s personal descriptor information, captures the applicant’s fingerprints electronically, and transmits the data to the DOJ. Once it is received, the DOJ then checks the fingerprint against the fingerprint database, which holds the fingerprints of criminal suspects, government employees, military personnel, and those with security clearances. If your fingerprints do not come up associated with a RAP sheet, then you are considered to have passed the fingerprint criminal background check.

San Diego Bail Processes and Criminal Defense Attorney

Being booked and taken into custody is a serious matter. Once officials have your fingerprints, they will have them forever. The Law Offices of David M. Boertje is dedicated to protecting your constitutional rights and freedom, and will do anything we can to keep you out of jail, and to protect your records. We even handle cases involving DNA evidence and expungements. Our lawyers are trained to walk you through the arrest process, to your trial. If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, contact our law firm today.