There are three situations where an alcohol-related event can impact one's ability to either obtain a pilot's license or continue to maintain a pilot's license. These include:
- A driving while intoxicated (DWI) related driver's license revocation
- Denial of driver's license due to an alcohol-related event, or
- A DWI conviction in criminal court.
There are a number of different factors that impact the decision of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Factors include the time of the alcohol-related event in conjunction with the time of the application for the pilot's license and the amount of alcohol present in the blood, breath, or urine sample. Every case is fact-specific. Some of the more common fact-specific situations are discussed below. However, your Hall County DWI lawyers are well versed in representing pilots in all sorts of circumstances. If you have a pilot's license or want to apply for a pilot's license, don't hesitate to call, even if you don't see your particular situation discussed below.
DWIs and Pilot's Licenses
Persons applying for or seeking to maintain a pilot's license must obtain an Aviation Medical Examination (AME), which is a specific medical exam tailored to the special concerns and needs of those who fly planes. The AME includes questions about prior DWI charges and convictions.
Keep in mind, however, that a prior DWI conviction, in and of itself, is not considered a complete bar to receiving a pilot's license.
Your Pilot's License & a DWI in Hall County GA
When applying for a pilot's license for the first time, the facts and circumstances behind the DWI, DWI related driver's license revocation, or denial of a driver's license based on an alcohol-related event will dictate whether or not the event will be a bar to obtaining a pilot's license.
Situations that May Be a Potential Bar to a Pilot's License
When an airman has two or more alcohol-related events over the course of his or her life, or has a documented history of chemical dependence, or has been diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder, the medical examiner is not authorized to issue an approval for a pilot's license. This is not to say your prior history is a complete bar to a pilot's license. Rather, in these situations, the medical examiner submits the information to the FAA. The FAA then reviews the information themselves, and follows up on the matter themselves, as they see fit. Upon review and investigation, the FAA makes the decision about whether or not to grant a pilot's license. Each situation is unique.
Situations that are Not a Potential Bar to a Pilot's License
In September of 2017, the FAA modified the rules about what is and what is not a bar to obtaining a pilot's license. Currently, one is not barred from obtaining a pilot's license if the DWI conviction, license revocation, or denial of a driver's license based on an alcohol-related event occurred more than five years prior to the application. However, this is also conditioned on a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of less than 0.15 percent.
In these cases, a medical examiner is to examine the applicant and specifically interview them about their chemical use. The point of the interview is to determine if there is evidence, either current or historical, of either substance abuse or chemical dependence. In situations where the examiner finds no issues with substance abuse or chemical dependence, the medical examiner submits a form as designated by the FAA. They also provide a copy of the blood alcohol concentration results for the FFA to retain in the applicant's file.
Situations Where Additional Information is Needed
Of course, there are also situations where additional information or investigation is needed. These include:
- A single, alcohol-related event within the past five years, or
- A single, alcohol-related event at any time in the person's life where:
- The person's blood alcohol concentration is unknown
- The person refused to participate in blood alcohol testing, or
- The person had a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.15.
In any of these situations, the medical examiner may be required to investigate and provide additional information to the FAA. This does not, however, prevent someone from taking and passing the medical exam.
Pilot's License & Reporting a DWI in Georgia
Once you have a valid pilot's license, you are under an ongoing duty to report certain events, including:
- Criminal conviction for a DWI, whether intoxicated, impaired, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Revocation, cancellation, or suspension of your license to drive in connection with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, impaired, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- The denial of your application for a driver's license, due to an incident involving driving while intoxicated, impaired, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A refusal to submit to blood, breath, or urine alcohol testing has the same effect as a case where there is a reading of the person's alcohol concentration. Both situations must be reported to the FAA.
FFA Minimum Reporting Requirements
The FAA has minimum reporting requirements for those subject to reporting. The report must be written. It must be submitted within 60 days of the triggering event. It must include the person's:
- Date of birth
- Certificate number
- Type of violation that triggered the report
- Date of conviction, license suspension, or license denial
- State where the incident occurred.
Failing to report the information is grounds for the denial of an application for a certificate, rating, or authorization for up to one year. For those already in possession of a license, failing to report could result in the suspension or revocation of your certificate, rating, or authorization.
Contact Experienced Hall County DUI Attorneys
Our Hall County DUI attorneys have the experience you need to defend against DUI charges. In Georgia, a person will lose his or her driver's license if the suspension is not challenged within 30 days. But you can also lose your pilot's license if you do not take the proper steps to secure it. Zealous advocacy is critical when facing criminal and administrative proceedings, but it is also critical to preserving your pilot's license. Contact us today for a free consultation.