Can drunk driving charges affect your pilots license?

A pilot facing charges for operating while intoxicated or any related offense under MCL 257.625 or has been convicted of a Michigan DUI may face serious consequences related to their pilot’s license with the Federal Aviation Administration.  Attorney Edward Duke explains what happens with drunk driving and your pilots license.

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What a pilot should know if he or she is ever stopped for suspected drunk driving.

Pilot DUI offenses are viewed differently by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Pursuant to Federal Aviation Regulation §61.16, a refusal to submit to an evidential breath or blood test is grounds for:

(a) Denial of an application for any certificate, rating, or authorization issued under this part for a period of up to 1 year after the date of the refusal; or

(b) Suspension or revocation of any certificate, rating, or authorization issued under this part.

Reporting Requirements for pilot DUI charges.

Under 14 CFR 61.15, all pilots musts send a notification letter to FAA’s Security and Investigations Division within 60 calendar days of the effective date of an alcohol and/or drug related conviction or administrative action. Each event, conviction, or administrative action requires a separate notification letter.

Examples of reported administrative actions and convictions are as follows:

  • Chemical test failure

  • Chemical test refusal

  • Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

  • Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol

Another reporting requirement relates to any FAA medical application. The application requires the reporting of any arrests, convictions, events, or administrative actions related to operating a motor vehicle and drugs and/or alcohol. Even if you hire an attorney who assists you getting your charge dismissed, you must still report the arrest.

Once the FAA is notified of a reportable offense on a medical application, they will require your Aviation Medical Examiner to obtain a copy of the police report and any records of your court proceedings. If your bodily alcohol content was greater than a .15, you will need to obtain a substance abuse evaluation. Depending on the results of the substance abuse evaluation, you may also be required to obtain a more extensive and comprehensive evaluation.

What could happen as a result of drunk driving and your pilots license?

Reporting to the FAA that you have received a DUI will not likely preclude you from flying or result in the suspension of your pilot license. If the reporting is timely, it is your first offense, and there are no conflicting reports, your privileges will likely remain in tact. However, if your medical certificate expires during the FAA review period, you will likely lose your flying privileges as you may be precluded from receiving your medical certificate as a result of the investigation.

If you have been arrested, charged or convicted of a repeat offense drug and/or alcohol charge, you may be facing revocation of your pilot license. After a drunk driving is reported and an investigation has been conducted, the FAA may determine that an emergency exists related to safety in air commerce and that immediate action to remove your Airline Transport Pilot license (or other pilot’s license) and Medical Certificates is required.

The reasons for such a determination are set forth in a “Determination of Emergency” which will be sent to you by the FAA as part of the “Emergency Order of Revocation.” If an Emergency Order of Revocation is issued, a pilot must cease all flight operations until the order is overturned or further order is issued.

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Summary
Can drunk driving charges affect your pilots license?
Article Name
Can drunk driving charges affect your pilots license?
Description
A pilot facing charges for operating while intoxicated or any related offense under MCL 257.625 or has been convicted of a Michigan DUI may face serious consequences related to their pilot’s license with the Federal Aviation Administration.
Author
Duke Law Group