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
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 refusal
Administrative per se orders
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:
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.
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.
It is also unlawful to fly within eight hours of any alcohol
consumption - a zero tolerance standard, but time limited. A violation is
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