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State and Federal Regs. for Airmen 
 


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Minnesota DWi or Minnesota DUI and Pilots
  DWI and Pilots

DWI offenses have a particularly harsh impact on those who hold pilot's licenses.  Pilots face harsher penalties and also risk losing thier license and their livelihood. As a result, an aggressive defense is necessary to any DWI in a motor vehicle or any charges that the pilot consumed alcohol before flying.  This area of law includes a confluence of state and federal statutes. 

A strict set of federal rules apply to airmen with regard to alcohol related offenses.  In fact, the federal rules governing licensing require airmen to self-report any alcohol related charges or license suspensions which then may result in the suspension of the pilot's license.  The DUI/DWI compliance program for pilots was established in November of 1990 by Congressional act and was codified in Federal Aviation Regulation Parts 61 and 67.

The rule sets forth regulations which allows the FAA to deny an application for a pilot's license or suspend or revoke an existing pilot's certificate or rating. Generally, the FAA may act if a person has received two or more alcohol-related motor vehicle convictions or state motor vehicle license suspensions within a 3-year period. Even more critical, pilots are also required to report to the FAA in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, any and all alcohol or drug related motor vehicle convictions or license suspensions that occur after November 1990. Generally, a failure to provide the necessary information to the FAA voluntarily results in stiffer penalties when discovered. Moreover, the FAA has the power to obtain driver's license information from the National Driver Register as it relates to licensed airmen.

Reportable offenses include:

  • Revocation/suspension/cancellation of driver license for chemical test failure

  • Revocation/suspension/cancellation of driver license for chemical test refusal

  • Administrative per se orders

  • Civil revocations

  • Express consent revocation/suspension

  • Driving While Under the Influence (DUI) conviction

  • Driving While Impaired (DWI) conviction

  • Driving with an unlawful blood alcohol level conviction

  • Operating While Under the Influence (OWUI) conviction

  • Boating or snowmobiling while intoxicated

Each pilot must provide a written report of each violation within 60 days of the effective date of the offense which must include the following information:

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.

Additionally, under Minnesota statutes, there is a special provision which establishes a .04 per se standard for alcohol consumption while flying and also criminalizes any test refusal.  A violation is always a gross misdemeanor.

It is also unlawful  to fly within eight hours of any alcohol consumption - a zero tolerance standard, but time limited.  A violation is a misdemeanor.

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