DUI Consequences for a Pilot
For a pilot or airman, a DUI or DWI-related arrest will have a huge impact on your career even if you are not ultimately convicted of any crime. After a second or subsequent DUI arrest or conviction, the impact is even greater.
If a pilot is arrested for DUI, he or she should hire an experienced DUI attorney to contest the administrative suspension of the driver’s license by demanding a formal review hearing. The DUI attorney will also fight the criminal charges in court.
The administrative suspension that is triggered on the day of the arrest must be properly reported to the FAA within 60 days of the arrest or notice of the suspension. If the court later imposes a sentence in court that suspends or revokes the driver’s license or if the pilot is convicted of DUI, then each of those circumstances must also be reported.
Any action impacting the driver’s license could result in an “emergency order of revocation” issued by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
That action might result in the revocation of your Airline Transport Pilot (or other pilot’s license) and Medical Certificates.
Keep in mind that Title 14, Part 61.15(e) of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs) requires a separate report for each reportable action.
Attorneys for a Pilot Arrested for DUI in Florida
At Sammis Law Firm, we represent pilots and members of the military who have more to lose after a first DUI arrest in Florida. We fight DUI cases throughout the Tampa Bay area of Florida, including Tampa and Plant City in Hillsborough County.
Pilots in particular face strict rules imposed by the FAA for the treatment of pilots accused of alcohol or drug-related crimes. Protecting the pilot’s license or airman’s certificate is critical at each stage of the case.
Looking for more general information online is an important first step. No substitute exists, however, for seeking out a consultation with a qualified attorney as soon as possible. Many attorneys don’t understand the reporting requirements. When in doubt, double-check everything with the FAA.
The Program Support Specialist with the DUI/DWI Investigations Branch of the FAA is very helpful and will answer questions about your plan on how to report the incident.
These issues are complicated because one “alcohol and/or drug incident” might trigger different reportable actions triggered by the on-the-spot administrative suspension/revocation on your driving record, any conviction in court, any court-ordered suspension/revocation on your driver’s license, or any drug and alcohol evaluation or treatment.
Each of those events might trigger a separate report. Question 18V is worded even more broadly to include any arrest, any administrative action or any loss of driving privileges (even if it doesn’t directly impact your driver’s license), or any required attendance at a substance abuse program or alcohol education or rehabilitation classes.
No action should be taken based on the general information listed on this website. Instead, seek out the services of an attorney to answer your specific questions about the specific facts of your case.
Contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, FL, who is familiar with the reporting and counseling requirements that might apply in your case after a DUI arrest or another type of incident involving an allegation of the misuse of drugs or alcohol.
Call us at 813-250-0500 to discuss your case.
Statistics on FAA Investigations in 2015 – 2020
In 2015, the FAA issued suspensions for 46 pilots and revoked another 38 pilot licenses. After a revocation, the pilot must wait at least one year to reapply and must start over from the beginning.
The pilot must first earn a private certificate, then an instrument rating, etc. The FAA also opened more than 1,000 investigations into pilots. In most of these cases, the FAA sent out a warning to the pilot for conduct such as:
- failing to have an “appropriate and current airworthiness certificate;”
- operating an aircraft in a “careless or reckless manner;”
- disobeying the flight tower;
- failing to comply with an “airworthiness directive”; and
- making a “fraudulent or intentionally false statement on any application for a medical certificate.”
Between 2010 and 2015, it is estimated that at least 64 pilots were cited for violating the alcohol and drug provisions. In 2015 alone, 38 pilots tested positive for one or more of five illegal drugs.
Read more about the consequences of an arrest for DUI for airmen stationed at MacDill Air Force Base.
The rules changed again in 2020, when the FAA started sending out “Letters of Investigation” with an offer for a “prompt settlement” to resolve violations of the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 14).
In fact, beginning on September 24, 2020, the FAA created a new Prompt Settlement Policy explained in 85 Federal Register 60057 to resolve investigations involving an allegation that the pilot failed to disclose a DUI-DWI-related license suspension or conviction, a reportable action(s) associated with the suspension or conviction, or related information on the medical application.
Do I Have to Disclose an Administrative Action?
Most of the time, a DUI arrest will also result in an administrative action to suspend your driver’s license. The arresting officer will take the driver’s license on the spot and give you a DUI citation that acts as your notice of the administrative suspension.
So if the law enforcement officer took your driver’s license and gave you notice that a suspension was triggered, then it counts as the type of administrative action that must be reported to the FAA, Civil Aviation Security Division (AMC-700) not later than 60 days after the action was taken (which is usually 60 days after the DUI arrest).
Additionally, you must answer “Item 18” with a “Yes” answer to indicate that the arrest, conviction and/or administrative action did occur and disclose other details about the arrest, conviction and/or administrative action when you apply for a First Class or Second Class Medical Certificate by the Aviation Medical Examiner.
The Importance of Winning the Administrative Suspension
The administrative action with the Florida DHSMV Bureau of Administrative Review which automatically suspends your privileges to drive in the State of Florida usually takes place when the driver:
- if asked to submit to a chemical test of his blood, breath, or urine after a DUI request and refuses to submit to the chemical testing; or
- takes the breath test but blows over the legal limit of 0.08.
Fighting that administrative hearing is critical. The demand for a formal review hearing must be filed within the first 10 days after the DUI arrest.
The best possible result for the pilot is winning the formal review hearing so that the administrative suspension is “invalidated.”
If the administrative suspension is “invalidated” then for most intents and purposes it will not be held against you. Additionally, if the administrative suspension is invalidated, then your full driving privileges in the State of Florida are restored pending the resolution of your criminal case.
For pilots, it is important to fight the administrative suspension of your driver’s license by demanding a formal review hearing within the first 10 days after your arrest.
Your criminal defense attorney can take the following actions
- Request a formal review hearing within 10 days after your arrest;
- Obtain the “packet” from the DMV which includes:
- all police reports;
- the DUI worksheet;
- the video of your arrest (often obtained from the State Attorney’s Office or the arresting agency);
- the breath test affidavit;
- the affidavit or refusal; and
- if you took the breath test at least the last 3 months of monthly agency inspections conducted on the breathalyzer (the Intoxilyzer 8000 instrument) used in your case, the last annual departmental inspection (and the last departmental inspection on the instrument after any repair).
- Subpoena all of the witnesses in the case with the proper witness fee attached to the subpoena;
- Order a court reporter so that all testimony at the formal review hearing is properly secured (the Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR) will tape-record the hearing, however, the tape could be lost, corrupted or inaudible leading to a disadvantage on appeal or during the criminal case for impeachment purposes if one of the witnesses testifies in a manner inconsistent with the prior testimony);
- Preserve the record for any issue on appeal in the event the hearing officer refuses to invalidate the administrative suspension; and
- Be prepared to file a “motion to enforce the subpoena” in the event that any witness fails to appear.
Keep in mind that there is no downside to requesting the formal review hearing except that you will suffer 30-day hard suspension for a first DUI with a reading over .08 or at least a 90-day suspension if you refused to submit to testing.
Your attorney can help you get a 42-day permit to drive for hardship purposes while the formal review hearing is pending.
Anyone charged with DUI should fight the administrative suspension, but for pilots and other professionals, the reasons to fight the administrative suspension are even more profound.
Even after dealing with the administrative action through the Bureau of Administrative Reviews with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DMV), the pilot or airman must also deal with the criminal case in the state court system.
The information gained by your attorney during the formal review hearing can also be used to fight the criminal case as well.
FAA Imposed Strict Rules and the Reporting the Incident
The Federal Air Surgeon’s Medical Bulletin provides that even a first-time DUI offense may come with more FAA scrutiny than occurred in the past.
Under the new FAA rules, if the pilot refused chemical testing of his breath, blood or urine or if the pilot’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) was 0.15 percent or higher than the AME will refer the case to the FAA headquarters for further review.
- Updated on October 6, 2010: It appears that many of these new FAA rules are being imposed on pilots after a DUI arrest that occurred up to five years earlier. So an old DUI that was resolved years before can also lead to additional scrutiny under the new rules.
Medics with the FAA now often require the pilot to complete a drug and alcohol evaluation and any recommended follow-up treatment.
Although the old rules provided that AME’s had the discretion to determine whether the pilot had to undergo treatment, it was determined that those rules discouraged pilots from being truthful about the full extent of any substance abuse issues.
After the Federal Aviation Administration receives your notification letter regarding the incident, you will receive a letter from the FAA that contains the following warnings:
- Title 14, Part 61.15(e) of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs), provides specific information on your requirements to notify the FAA of an offense involving drugs or alcohol. All drug and alcohol-related administrative actions, i.e. driver license suspensions or revocations and convictions for driving under the include are separate, reportable actions. Therefore, you must submit separate letters to the FAA reporting the administrative action and the conviction in order to company with Part 61.15(e).
- When completing your next Application for an Airman Medical Certificate, FAA Form 8500-8, please read Question 18v carefully and follow the instructions when answering the question. Question 18v seeks information regarding arrests, convictions, denials or loss of driving privileges, and any required attendance at a substance abuse program or an alcohol education or rehabilitation class.
Get Counseling Early – DOT Certified Substance Abuse Providers
Many attorneys may also recommend that the pilot voluntarily obtain a substance abuse evaluation from a Department of Transportation (DOT) certified substance abuse provider. The pilot should also complete any recommended follow up treatment recommended by the DOT certified substance abuse provider as soon as practical.
Being proactive in seeking treatment is often the best way to protect the pilot’s license. Furthermore, the new medical form provides a release that grants the FAA permission to check the pilot’s National Driver Registry records.
The FAA will probably require you to obtain certified copies of your life-time driving record for any state in which you applied for a driver’s license.
If those driving records show any drug or alcohol driving-related offense that was not properly disclosed on the FAA medical form then penalties are harsh, including the immediate revocation of the pilot’s license.
Pilot’s Reporting Requirements after a DUI Arrest – Sixty (60) After the “Motor Vehicle Action”
Section 61.15(e) of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARS) provides the DUI / DWI or alcohol-related driving offense must be reported: “not later than 60 days after the motor vehicle action.”
The motor vehicle action includes each alcohol-related event including any administrative action (driver license suspension, revocation, or cancellation) or any conviction.
Each incident requires the pilot to file a separate “Notification Letter.” The driver license of an airman might be suspended at the time of arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol for either failing or refusing a blood or breath test.
The action that must be reported includes the administrative suspension of your driver’s license and the conviction.
The report must be made to the FAA, Civil Action Security Division in Oklahoma City, not your local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) or Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). Section (f) provides that the “[f]ailure to comply with paragraph (e) of this section is grounds for . . .(2) Suspension or revocation of any certificate, rating, or authorization issued under this part.”
After a DUI / DWI or any other drug or alcohol-related driving arrest, a pilot is required to report the fact of the arrest (regardless of whether a conviction occurs) within 60 days of the incident, regardless of the time remaining until the pilot’s next medical certification.
Failure to report the arrest will also result in an immediate suspension of the pilot’s license.
Incorrect Disclosures on the Airman Medical Certificates
Section 67.403(c)(1) provides for revocation or suspension of a medical certificate if you entered an incorrect statement on an application for a medical certificate, upon which the FAA relied.
Therefore, even if it is determined that the pilot did not intentionally give a false answer to Item 18 on the application for a medical certificate by the Aviation Medical Examiner.
When you apply for a Medical Certificate with the Aviation Medical Examiner, you will be asked this question on the application:
Item 18. Medical History – HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN YOUR LIFE… HAD ANY OF THE FOLLOWING?… ARREST, CONVICTION, AND / OR ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION HISTORY…
Item 18. v. History of
- any arrest(s) and/or conviction(s) involving driving while intoxicated by, while impaired by, or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug; or
- history of any arrest(s), and/or conviction(s) and/or administrative action(s) involving an offense(s) which resulted in the denial, suspension, cancellation, or revocation of driving privileges, or which resulted in attendance at an educational or rehabilitative program.
After a DUI arrest, you must certainly answer this question affirmatively. Incorrectly answering “no” to this question after a drunk driving arrest will cause the FAA to allege the following:
- the information was not correct because an arrest was made, a conviction occurred, or a driver license suspension by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles for Driving with an Unlawful Breath Alcohol Level or Refusal occurred;
- the FAA relied upon the information provided in response to Item 18.v. on the application;
- the information provided in response to Item 18.v. on the application was fraudulent or intentionally false;
- the information provided in response to Item 18.v. was material in that Airman Medical Certificate was issued without consideration of the actions of the DUI arrest, conviction or administrative action;
- The airman certified that the entries on the application were complete and true while knowing that the entries were false.
Under Part 67, the airman or pilot must report the conviction or administrative action during any application for medical certification also know as the “Airman Medical Certificate.” Any convictions or administrative actions affecting driving privileges may raise serious questions about the airman’s fitness for certification and may be cause for disqualification.
What About a First DUI Arrest?
Generally, one single driving under the influence (DUI) conviction or administrative action is not necessarily cause for the denial assuming the applicant had no other instances of substance dependence or abuse.
The Examiner for the Airman Medical Certification should inquire regarding the airman’s alcohol use history, and the circumstances of the incident. The three classifications for the AMC each have different reporting requirements.
- First Class AMC
- The first class AMC is required for any airline transport pilot certificate. The first class airman medical certificate is valid for 6 months plus the remainder of the days in the month of examination.
- Second Class AMC
- The second class AMC is required for commercial but non-airline duties such as corporate pilots or crop dusters.
- Additionally, individuals working as air traffic control tower operators, or those using the privileges of a flight navigator certificate or a flight engineer certificate must comply with the second class airman medical certification requirements.
- Third Class AMC-
- The third class AMC is required for a flight instructor certificate, a private pilot certificate, or a recreational pilot certificate. The third class airman medical certificate is valid for the following time periods depending on the age of the pilot:
- two years plus the remainder of the days in the month of examination for all pilots 40 years old or older or
- three years plus the remainder of the days in the month of examination for all pilots under the age of 40.
- The third class AMC is required for a flight instructor certificate, a private pilot certificate, or a recreational pilot certificate. The third class airman medical certificate is valid for the following time periods depending on the age of the pilot:
What Happens if an Airman is Arrested for Boating under the Influence?
If an airman is arrested for Boating Under the Influence, any subsequent administrative suspensions/revocations and conviction is reportable under 14 C.F.R. § 61.15(e). Additionally, the arrest, administrative actions, conviction, and any educational or rehabilitation program is reportable in reference to question 18v on the medical application.
If the criminal charge is reduced to careless boating which is a civil infraction, then the conviction of careless boating is not reportable. Additionally, if any action is invalidated in court, the action that is invalidated might not be reportable. But as a practical matter, it should be reported if the invalidation does not occur prior to the 60 day deadline to report it.
Reexamining Your Qualifications for the Medical Certification for First Class AME
After you provide the FAA notification letter or after the incident is reported by the National Driver Register, you will receive correspondence via certified and regular mail from the Investigations Branch of the FAA’s Internal Security and Investigations Division (also known as the Civil Aviation Security Division).
The letter will explain that it has received information of what appears to be an alcohol-related offense. This information will be reported to the Aerospace Medical Certification Division for review and disposition.
The letter will warn you that because of this action, you may not be qualified to hold any class medical certification.
The letter will also tell you that under the authority of Title 14 of the CFR, Section 67.413(a) and 67.407(d), the Federal Aviation Administration will be reexamining your qualifications in order to determine whether you meet the medical standards for the medical certificate issued to you by the aviation medical examiner.
In most cases, the medical certification will not be denied immediately, but if no reply is received within 60 days from the date of the letter, the division will either refer your case for legal enforcement action or deny your application in accordance with Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs), Section 67.413.
It is your responsibility to provide the medical data necessary to determine eligibility. No consideration can be given for issuance until all requested information is received in its entirety.
Due to your history of an alcohol-related offense, for further first-class medical certification, you must provide the following for the Aerospace Medical Certification Division’s review.
- A complete copy of your current driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles from any state that you have held a driver’s license, for the past 10 years;
- Complete copies of all court records associated with the offense(s);
- a copy of the narrative police / investigation report and blood / breath alcohol content (BAC) for all offense(s);
- A detailed statement from you regarding your past and present patterns and future plans of alcohol use and of the circumstances surrounding the offense(s);
- All records associated with any care, treatment, or assessments/evaluations for alcohol abuse or related disorders;
- If your records reveal you refused the BAC test or your BAC was above .14999, in addition to the above records please submit complete copies of a current evaluation which includes a detailed narrative from a certified Substance Abuse Specialist, or Addictionologist in accordance with the enclosed guidelines. Please note that the evaluation must address your complete alcohol related history of usage and all offenses, and should include copies of all testing performed with a final diagnosis.
- Or if your records reveal your BAC was .20 or greater, in addition to items 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, you must also submit complete copies of a current evaluation from a psychiatrist familiar with aviation standards, in accordance with the enclosed guidelines. The evaluation must address your complete alcohol related history of usage and all offenses, and should include copies of all testing performs with a final diagnosis.
If you are required to provide an evaluation as stipulated to in either item 6 or 7 listed above, the Division suggests that you consider contacting a Human Intervention Motivation Study (HIMS), Aviation Medical Examinar (AME) in your area for assistance in pursuing the appropriate health care professional to provide the evaluation.
A HIMS AME may know of one or more resources in your area that understand the Division’s requirements and would be able to provide the service. Please visit the website to locate a HIMS AME in your area – Listing of HIMS Medical Sponsors on the FAA’s AME Locator Page.
You might also be asked to reconsider your answer to item 18-V of your application for medical certification so as to keep in line with the Federal Aviation Administration’s police pertaining to the falsification of airman applications for medical certification.
You might be asked to correct the items circled on the enclosed Form 8500-8 and return the form to the Division. All expenses incurred in establishing eligibility for medical certification are the responsibility of the airman, not the FAA.
Your letter will also include the Guidelines for Initial Assessment of Airmen with History of Misuse of Drugs or Alcohol, and a copy of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights Notification for Current Airman Medical Certification Holder.
Notification Letters to the FAA
The FAA Notification Letters after a drug or alcohol related driving offense (DUI / DWI) must be sent to the FAA Security and Investigations Division. In the past, the website provided the following address but you should double-check this information carefully before taking any action:
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Security and Investigations Division (AMC-700)
P.O. Box 25810
Oklahoma City, OK 73125 Fax: (405) 954-4989
The FAA Notification Letter is a standard form that must be completed after a drug or alcohol related driving offense (DUI / DWI) must include the following information:
- Your full legal name
- Date of birth (DOB)
- Certificate number
- Telephone number
- Type of violation (including either an administrative action or a conviction)
- Date of the violation
- Jurisdiction (or the particular court) with the record
- Driver license number or state ID number (if no driver’s license number exist in the state where the incident occurred)
- Disclose whether this violation is related to a previously related MVA.
Your DUI attorney should assist you in completing the FAA Notification Letter so that you can be sure that all information on the form is correct and complete.
What Action Will the FAA Take If I Comply Properly with All Reporting Requirements?
Generally, if the pilot or airman reports the drug or alcohol-related motor vehicle incident, then the FAA will complete a case file, verify the status of the airman, obtain a copy of the pilot’s driving reports, and compare the information on the Notification Letter with the driving records.
The FAA will usually not take any other drastic action if the pilot does not have any prior incidents, properly disclosed the incident on the Application for Airman Medical application (if applicable), and complied with the Notification Letter requirements.
The FAA has great discretion in these cases and applies more scrutiny if the case involves a DUI crash, if a minor child was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, or if the BAC was .15 or higher.
Even though a first DUI may not result in further action being taken by the FAA, disqualification may result after the DUI arrest due to the medical implications of a DUI.
As discussed above, the airman or pilot may be required to undergo a drug or alcohol evaluation and follow up treatment.
Other medical implications will be triggered for a second or subsequent arrest or if a refusal or breath alcohol reading over 0.15 resulted. Finally, if any accident occurred that results in property damage or personal injury, further scrutiny will apply.
What Happens to My Pilot’s License if I Fail to Disclose the DUI Properly?
Under 49 U.S.C. Section 46105(c), 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 for in a “Determination of Emergency” which will be sent to you by the FAA as part of the “Emergency Order of Revocation.”
The FAA could allege that the airman violated Section 61.15(e) on the Federal Aviation Regulations in that the airman failed to report an alcohol-related motor vehicle action to the FAA, Civil Aviation Security Division within 60 days of the motor vehicle action.
Pursuant to Section 61.15(f) of the FAR, failure to report an alcohol or drug-related motor vehicle action to the FAA, Civil Aviation Security Division within 60 days of the motor vehicle action is a basis for revocation of the Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, and any other certificates issued under Part 61 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.
The FAA could allege that the airman or pilot violated Section 67.403(a)(1) of the Federal Aviation Regulations in that the airman made or caused to be made a fraudulent or intentionally false statement on an application for a medical certificate.
Pursuant to Section 67.403(b), this intentionally false statement entered on an application for a medical certification is a basis for revocation of your Airline Transport Pilot, Flight Engineer and Medical Certificates and any other medical and airman certificates issued to the pilot.
The FAA could allege that the airman demonstrated that he presently lacks the qualifications, and the degree of care, judgment, and responsibility required the holder of Airline Transport Pilot, Flight Engineer and Medical Certificates.
As such, the FAA could determine that the safety in air commerce or air transportation and the public interest require the revocation of the above-mentioned certificates.
The Administrators could further find that an emergency requiring immediate action exists with respect to safety in air commerce or air transportation. Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. Section 44709 and 46105(c) the Administrator could order the following:
- Effective immediately, the pilot’s Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, Flight Engineer Certificate and Medical Certificate, and any other medical and airman certificates are revoked;
- The airman must immediately surrender the Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, Flight Engineer Certificate and Medical Certificate, and any other medical and airman certificates, by mail or delivery to:
- Aeronautical Center Counsel, AMC-7
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
- 6500 S. MacArthur Blvd.
- Oklahoma City, OK 73125
- No application for any airman certificate shall be accepted from the airman, nor shall such certificate be issued to the airman for a period of one year from the date of service of this Order.
The failure to immediately surrender the airman certificates will subject the airman to further legal enforcement action, including a civil penalty of up to $1,100 a day for each day you fail to surrender it.
The Appeal of the Emergency Order of Revocation
Appeals of the Emergency Order of Revocation must be filed within ten (10) days from the date of its service by filing a Notice of Appeal with the:Office of Administrative Law Judges
National Transportation Safety Board
490 L’Enfrant Plaza East, SW
Washinton, DC 20594
The National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB’s) Rules of Practice in Air Safety Proceedings, 49 C.F.R. part 821, subpart I, apply to appeals of Emergency and Other Immediately Effective Orders.
The NTSB rules of practice that apply to its review of the FAA’s emergency determination are available at 49 C.F.R. Section 821.54 or through the NTSB’s website.
An executed original and three (3) copies of your Notice of Appeal must be filed with the NTSB. If you appeal, a copy of your Notice of Appeal also must be served on the FAA’s attorney at the address listed in the Emergency Order.
If you file an appeal with the NTSB, a copy of this Emergency Order will be filed with the NTSB as the Administrator’s Complaint in that proceeding.
You may also seek a review of the FAA’s determination that an emergency exists in this case, which makes this order immediately effective.
You may request such review in a written petition filed within two days after your receipt of this order. Petitions for review of the FAA’s emergency order attached to the petition, by facsimile or by an expedited means that ensures next-day delivery to the FAA’s attorney at the same address provided in the order and the following address:Office of Administrative Law Judges
National Transportation Safety Board
490 L’Enfant Plaza East, SW
Washington, DC 20594
Guidelines for Initial Assessment of Airmen with a History of Misuse of Drugs or Alcohol
When the presence of a drug or alcohol problem is in question in an applicant for airman medical certification, it is the responsibility of the Office of Aviation Medicine to determine whether a history of substance abuse or dependence does exist; and if it does, whether there is satisfactory evidence of recovery.
If it is determined that a problem does exist, the Federal Aviation Administration requires that the applicant submit an evaluation by a professional who has had special training in the diagnosis and/or treatment of addiction.
The evaluation would include certified substance abuse counselors, psychologists or psychiatrists, other physicians with special training in addictive disorders, and members of ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine).
The report should contain adequate information to determine whether a problem exists, including significant negatives. This should include, though not necessarily be restricted to the following information that may be related to substance misuse.
When appropriate, specific information about the quality of recovery should be provided, including the period of total abstinence. Summary, appraisal, etc., with final diagnoses in accordance with standard nomenclature is of particular significance.
Further information may be required, including treatment and traffic records, psychological testing, as well as other medical and laboratory records (random drug testing, liver profile, etc.). It may be appropriate for the evaluator to interview or contact a significant other in the process of this evaluation.
Section 61.15 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARS)
Section 61.15 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARS) for offenses involving alcohol or drugs provides, in part, as follows:
(c) For the purposes of paragraphs (d), (e), and (f) of this section, a motor vehicle action means:
(1) A conviction after November 29, 1990, for the violation of any Federal or State statute relating to the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or a drug, while impaired by alcohol or a drug, or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug;
(2) The cancellation, suspension, or revocation of a license to operate a motor vehicle after November 29, 1990, for a cause related to the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or a drug, while impaired by alcohol or a drug, or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug; or
(3) The denial after November 29, 1990, of an application for a license to operate a motor vehicle for a cause related to the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or a drug, while impaired by alcohol or a drug, or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug.
(d) Except for a motor vehicle action that results from the same incident or arises out of the same factual circumstances, a motor vehicle action occurring within 3 years of a previous motor vehicle action is grounds for:
(1) 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 last motor vehicle action; or
(2) Suspension or revocation of any certificate, rating, or authorization issued under this part.
(e) Each person holding a certificate issued under this part shall provide a written report of each motor vehicle action to the FAA, Civil Aviation Security Division (AMC-700), P.O. Box 25810, Oklahoma City, OK 73125, not later than 60 days after the motor vehicle action. The report must include:
(1) The person’s name, address, date of birth, and airman certificate number;
(2) The type of violation that resulted in the conviction or the administrative action;
(3) The date of the conviction or administrative action;
(4) The State that holds the record of conviction or administrative action; and
(5) A statement of whether the motor vehicle action resulted from the same incident or arose out of the same factual circumstances related to a previously reported motor vehicle action.
(f) Failure to comply with paragraph (e) of this section is grounds for:
(1) 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 motor vehicle action; or
(2) Suspension or revocation of any certificate, rating, or authorization issued under this part.
Falsification of Airman Applications for Medical Certification
What happens if the Manager of the Aerospace Medical Certification Division of the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute finds a “possible discrepancy” after reviewing your application for FAA medical certification, your previous medical file, and other data available to the FAA? You will receive a letter asking you to take corrective action and complete FAA Form 8500-8.
If so, you will receive a letter explaining that your medical certification has not been denied; however, if no reply is received within 60 days from the date of the letter, the Manager for the Aerospace Medical Certification Division will refer your case for legal enforcement action or deny your application in accordance with Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs), Section 67.413.
It is your responsibility to provide the medical data necessary to determine eligibility for medical certification. No consideration can be given for issuance until all requested information is received in its entirety.
In many of these cases, the airman will give a negative answer to Item 18-V or 18-W, even though the pilot has previously disclosed to the FAA an arrest or conviction for DUI or a history of an administrative action involving offenses which resulted in the denial, suspension, cancellation, or revocation of driving privileges or which resulted in attendance at an educational or a rehabilitation program.
Based on that prior information, the letter will conclude that the appropriate answer to Items 18-V and 18-W appears to be “yes” instead of “no.”
In keeping with the Federal Aviation Administration’s policy pertaining to falsification of airman applications for medical certification, the letter will recommend that you “reconsider your answer to the item(s) indicated above.”
The letter will invite you to correct the items circled on the enclosed FAA Form 8500-8 and return it to this office.
Finding a Lawyer for a Pilot’s DUI in Florida
The Tampa DUI Attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm represent pilots, members of the military, and other professionals after a DUI arrest.
For many of our clients, the indirect consequences of the arrest are much more harmful than any punishment imposed by the Court.
After a DUI arrest, act quickly to secure legal representation to make sure that all of your rights are protected for any DUI case in Florida, including Tampa in Hillsborough County, Bartow in Polk County, New Port Richey or Dade City in Pasco County, Clearwater or St. Petersburg in Pinellas County or the surrounding areas.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL, or the surrounding counties then find out more about the possible collateral consequences that can impact your career or educational opportunities even if you ultimately avoid a DUI conviction.
The collateral consequences of a pilot or airman are serious. Contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Tampa, FL, at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss the facts of your case.
This article was last updated on Tuesday, June 29, 2021.