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What happens when a pilot gets a DWI?

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2023 | Family Law |

When Texas motorists are convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they can lose their driving privileges and be sent to jail. When pilots get DWIs, they can also be grounded and lose their livelihoods. A drunk driving conviction does not always lead to a pilot losing his or her rating or certification, but failing to report a DWI conviction in a timely manner is grounds for suspension or revocation.

Reporting a DWI to the FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration gives pilots 60 days to report drunk driving convictions. Notification must be made in writing to the FAA’s Security and Hazardous Materials Safety Office in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and the letter must include the pilot’s name, the nature of the offense and the state where the offense occurred. All drug or alcohol-related motor vehicle actions must be reported to the FAA, which means a pilot must notify the agency if their driver’s license is suspended or revoked for refusing to submit to a chemical test.

A common mistake

A common mistake made by pilots who are convicted of DWI is notifying their local FAA Flight Standards District Office instead of the SHMSO. This is a violation of FAA regulations, and it is grounds for revocation or suspension if the SHMSO is not notified within the 60-day time limit. A FSDO will not notify the SHMSO about an alcohol or drug-related motor vehicle action on a pilot’s behalf.

Staying in the air

Pilots are required to notify the FAA within 60 days of a DWI conviction or a driver’s license suspension or revocation for refusing to take a chemical test. Failing to meet this requirement could lead to a pilot being grounded. Pilots can avoid this situation and stay in the air by using ride-sharing services or designated drivers to get them home after consuming alcohol.