What are the consequences of being charged or convicted of a DUI in Kentucky if I carry a Pilot's License?

In Kentucky, if you are convicted of a DUI and carry a Pilot’s License the consequences are a lot more severe than almost any DUI (much more so than a regular motor vehicle DUI and even more so than a CDL DUI) due to the rigid reporting requirements and the seriousness of the matter to the FAA due to the person’s airman (or airwoman) status.

Similar to the per se limit for CDL licensees, the per se limit for a Pilot is 0.04. See 14 CFR 91.17(a)(4). Furthermore, 14 CFR 91.17 prohibits one from acting or attempting to act as a crewmember aboard a civil aircraft:

  1. Within 8 hours after the consumption of any alcoholic beverage;
  2. While under the influence of alcohol;
  3. While using any drug that affects the person’s faculties in any way contrary to safety; or
  4. While having an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater in a blood or breath specimen. Alcohol concentration means grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

See 14 CFR 91.17(a).

Furthermore, A crewmember must, on request of a law enforcement officer, submit to a test to indicate the alcohol concentration in the blood or breath. See 14 CFR 91.17(c). And the test must be taken within 4 hours of acting or attempting to act as a crewmember and the results must be submitted to the FAA. See 14 CFR 91.17(d).

Committing an act prohibited by § 91.17(a) or refusing to submit to a test (14 CFR 61.16) is grounds for:

  1. Denial of an application for a certificate, rating, or authorization issued under this part for a period of up to 1 year after the date of that act; or
  2. Suspension or revocation of any certificate, rating, or authorization issued under this part.

Pilots MUST provide a written report, called a Notification Letter, (in .doc MS Word Format) of the DUI to the FAA, no later than 60 days if one of three situations occurs (see below). Failing to report is worse than being charged because to the FAA that implies your intent to conceal such information from them and the sanctions for failing to report are very heavy and very severe. The consequences will likely be a lot less severe if you notify the FAA. If you discover the reporting requirement after the 60 days, but before the FAA gets wind of your suspension or conviction, the FAA will view it as a mitigating factor. The written report must be sent to:

  • Civil Aviation Security Division (AMC-700), P.O. Box 25810, Oklahoma City, OK 73125; or
  • Fax it to (405) 954-4989.

See 14 CFR 61.15(e).

What motor vehicle occurrences MUST be reported to the FAA via Notification Letter:

  1. A conviction after November 29, 1990, for the violation of any Federal or State statute relating to the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or a drug, while impaired by alcohol or a drug, or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug;
  2. The cancellation, suspension, or revocation of a license to operate a motor vehicle after November 29, 1990, for a cause related to the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or a drug, while impaired by alcohol or a drug, or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug; or
  3. The denial after November 29, 1990, of an application for a license to operate a motor vehicle for a cause related to the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or a drug, while impaired by alcohol or a drug, or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug.

See 14 CFR 61.15(c).

Each event must be reported in a separate written report. For example, if you refused to take the Intoxilyzer 5000EN test, and as a result your license is suspended, that must be reported within 60 days of the suspension. Then, if you get convicted of the DUI or decide to plea guilty, that must be reported as a separate written report within 60 days of the conviction. Even if the two events occur simultaneously, each must be reported separately. In the example above, the FAA will nevertheless regard the two written reports (one for the suspension and one for the conviction) as emanating from the same, one, incident .

What information must be included in the written report:

  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.

See 14 CFR 61.15(e)(1) – (5).

If you are convicted of DUI due to registering a breathalyzer result above a 0.04 or are found to have had controlled substances in your system, or have more than one motor vehicle incident (see above) in a period of three (3) years, you are facing a:

  1. Denial of an application for a certificate, rating, or authorization issued under this part for a period of up to 1 year after the date of that act; or
  2. Suspension or revocation of any certificate, rating, or authorization issued under this part.

When applying for an aviation medical exam, the following factors will affect your ability to receive a medical certificate in order to obtain your Pilot’s License:

  • Your blood alcohol content was above 0.15;
  • You are unable to provide necessary documentation within 14 days;
  • You refused to submit to a blood alcohol test;
  • You had any other arrests, convictions or corrective actions against you within preceding two years;
  • You’ve been arrested three or more times in your lifetime; or
  • You’ve had two arrests, convictions or corrective actions against you in the previous ten years.

Attempting to conceal the DUI from the FAA is the worst possible solution as any suspension is reported to the National Driver Registry (NDR) and the FAA checks each of their registrant’s periodically. You will not be able to escape the FAA’s wrath, so it’s better to report.

Special Note: As a Pilot with a Pilot’s License, you run the risk of losing your job or your license by simply being charged with a DUI, let alone convicted, due to the position you are in. Consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney if you carry a Pilot’s License.

If you are a Licensed Pilot and need assistance with a DUI charge, you need competent and experienced counsel to help you with your case. Your entire career may be at stake. Do not delay, call the DUI Guy today.

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