What happens when a pilot gets a DWI?

On Behalf of | Oct 24, 2023 | Criminal Defense, DWI

Pilots are expected to conduct themselves in a responsible and professional manner, and they can be sanctioned by the Federal Aviation Administration when they engage in behavior that could place themselves or others in danger. A single drunk driving incident is not likely to cost a pilot their certification or rating, but two incidents within a three-year period could lead to them being grounded. When considering the appropriate sanctions for a drunk driving conviction, the FAA considers all of the facts of the case. Texas pilots who get behind the wheel with very high blood alcohol concentrations and cause serious accidents are treated more harshly.

Reporting driver’s license suspensions to the FAA

Federal Aviation Regulations require pilots to report all alcohol or drug-related driver’s license suspensions within 60 days. Notification must be made in writing to the FAA’s Civil Action Security Division in Oklahoma and not a Flight Standards District Office. Notifying a FSDO about a drunk driving incident is a reporting violation that can lead to suspension or revocation. Any alcohol or drug-related suspension must be reported, which means pilots must notify the FAA if they lose their driving privileges for refusing to submit to a chemical test.

Reporting DWI convictions to the FAA

Pilots must send the FAA a second written notification if they are subsequently convicted of DWI. They must make this notification within 60 days of the conviction date. They must also mention the DWI when they renew their medical certificates. Notification letters must include the pilot’s name, address, date of birth and certificate number, the date of the offense, the state where the offense was committed, the type of offense and the conviction date.

Keeping your certificate

If you hold a pilot certification and are pulled over for drunk driving, you must notify the FAA if you lose your driving privileges and then notify the agency again if you are convicted. Failing to notify the FAA about an alcohol or drug-related motor vehicle action could lead to your certificate being suspended or revoked, but a single drunk driving incident will probably not ground you if you follow the reporting rules.