How a Pennsylvania DUI Can Affect Your Pilot’s License

September 17, 2018By Brian Manchester

 A DUI Can End a Pilot’s Career if not Handled Properly

A DUI conviction can be detrimental to a pilot’s career if not handled properly. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) takes DUI offenses very seriously, and pilots are required to notify the FAA within sixty (60) days of each DUI related event. Specifically, under 14 CFR 61.15, all pilots must notify the Security and Investigative Division of the FAA by way of notification letter when the pilot has their driver’s license suspended, and a separate letter must be sent if the pilot is convicted of the DUI.

Because alcohol related convictions will appear on your driving record, which you must release to the FAA for a pilot’s license or renewal of medical aviation certification, it is important resist the urge to try and hide the DUI from the FAA. The FAA can and will quickly review your driving record, especially if there is any suspicion that you were convicted of a DUI. However, please note under 14 CFR 61.15(c)(1), you are not required to report the violation to the FAA if the DUI charge took place prior to November 29, 1990.

Requirements for the Notification Letter

The specific requirements for the notification letter are listed in 14 CFR 61.15(e), which are:

“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 (AAC-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.”

A DUI does NOT mean an End to your Piloting Career

Getting a DUI will not automatically mean that your career as a pilot is over. However, if you are convicted, you can expect that the FAA will conduct an alcoholism inquiry in order to determine if you are fit to keep your pilot’s license. For someone that receives a DUI while in the process of becoming a pilot, it can affect your chances of obtaining the pilot’s license if you do not handle the process responsibly and properly. Thus, if you report the DUI, and conduct yourself in a manner that indicates you do not suffer from alcohol dependency, you have a good chance of keeping your pilots license.

It is important to know that you are still capable of successfully passing your aviation medical exam even with a DUI on your record, but not without being examined by the FAA. The one exception to the requirement of being examined by the FAA is if: your BAC was under 0.15, you never refused to submit to a BAC test, you properly reported the DUI to the FAA, and you have never had any prior arrests or convictions. If you have multiple DUIs, you may experience difficulty applying for an aviation medical certificate, as the FAA usually deems this an indication of a habitual alcohol or addition problem.

Do NOT Assume You’ll Lose Your License

It is important to know your options if you are a pilot charged with DUI, and you should not assume that you will lose your pilot’s license. Brian Manchester has extensive training in DUI defense and is even a member of the National College for DUI Defense, the American Chemical Society, and the Society of Forensic Toxicologists. Brian Manchester also regularly attends seminars that specifically focus on DUI defenses, and he was also the Educational Chairman for the Pennsylvania Association of Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys. For a free consultation, we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.


Posted in: DUI Blog , Pilot License Issues

Tags: DUI, DUI attorney, DUI Defense, DUI lawyer, underage, underage dui,

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About the Author

Brian Manchester is the owner of Manchester and Associates in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. His law firm practices DUI and Criminal Defense exclusively throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania in both state and federal court. He has a team of two other lawyers with a combined 50 years of trial and courtroom experience are also trained in science and many other skills that are relevant to criminal defense to include the psychology of persuasion as well. One of his associates is a former District Attorney (chief prosecutor) in central Pennsylvania.   Mr. Manchester and his team routinely handle serious felony cases including murder, manslaughter, sex crimes, complex financial crimes, and serious assaults. A large part of Mr. Manchester’s practice is the defense of alcohol and drug-based DUI offenses as well as drug cases using science and analytical chemistry. Mr. Manchester has training as a Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Instructor. He is one of a handful of Certified Lawyer-Scientists as recognized by the American Chemical Society in the United States. He is a member of NCDD and is a Founding Member of DUIDLA. He is also a member of the American Chemical Society with over 170,000 members across the world. To date, he is the only practicing criminal defense lawyer to belong to the Society of Forensic Toxicologist where he is an Associate Member. Mr. Manchester speaks nationally on the topic of blood and drug testing for alcohol as well as the metrological (measurement uncertainty) in forensic testing.

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  • “Mr. Manchester is the lawyer I would hire if accused of DWI. He is concerned for his clients and aggressively defends their cases. He has completed the most rigorous training to be one of the best DWI lawyers in the State. His determination and knowledge will serve you well when he is your attorney.”
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  • “Brian Manchester is a knowledgeable, dedicated attorney, with the skill and ability to successfully defend citizens who are accused of driving under the influence. I highly recommend Brian.”

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