Pilot DUI Frequently Asked Questions

The questions listed here address some of the common concerns and issues that people have regarding a DUI arrest in West Virginia. The answers given are general and broad in scope and are not intended to address a specific case or set of facts, but are meant to give you some guidance and understanding regarding a DUI arrest. Further, these answers are not to be used as legal advice nor as a substitute for a full and thorough legal analysis of your particular situation.

Each case is unique and requires the comprehensive review by an experienced DUI attorney.

For a free evaluation of your case, contact Todd La Neve at toll-free 877-7WV-LAWS (877-798-5297).

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Frequently Asked Questions about Pilot DUIs

Do I have to tell the FAA about my DUI arrest and what do they want to see?

Under specific circumstances, yes.Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 61.15(e) tells us the FAA is primarily concerned with two things - a conviction (arising from a plea or after a trial) for DUI or the suspension of your driver’s license.The FAA refers to these with the term “motor vehicle action,” which is fully defined in section 61.15(c). You are required to report any motor vehicle action within sixty (60) days of its occurrence.There is also an obligation to disclose this on the Application for Airman Medical Certificate on an ongoing basis.

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What if it is not called a “DUI” in my state?

The reporting obligations of 61.15(e) apply to every type of offense related to driving a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs, even when referred to by other common abbreviations such as DWI, OWI, etc.It is the offense that matters to FAA, not the specific name or abbreviation.

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How do I know when to make a report to the FAA?

Your duty to make a report to the FAA under 61.15(e) is triggered by the date of the motor vehicle action.In other words, the day you are convicted of a DUI or your license is suspended marks the start of the sixty day period.As long as you file the necessary report within that sixty day period, your 61.15(e) reporting obligation is satisfied.

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Does it matter that the officer suspended my license when I was arrested?

Yes.Some states allow a police officer to immediately suspend driving privileges at the time of arrest for a variety of reasons, including your refusal to submit to a test of your breath, blood, or urine to determine alcohol content.If the state considers your license to be suspended under these circumstances, then your sixty day reporting obligation under 61.15(e) is triggered.

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What if I was arrested in another state and not my home state?

Any arrest from any state that results in a conviction for DUI is reportable under 61.15(e).

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What if the other state suspended my driving privileges?

Any state besides your state of residence has the right to seek suspension of your driving privileges, but not your license since it was not issued by that state’s licensing agency. If your driving privileges in another state are suspended or revoked, this must be disclosed on the medical application.The FAA chief counsel has issued an opinion that this does not have to be reported under 61.15(e).However, some federal case law suggests that you must file a report, per 61.15(e), when your privileges to drive in another state have been suspended.Consequently, out of an abundance of caution, it may be best to file a report under 61.15(e) even when only your privileges to drive in another state have been suspended or revoked.

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Where do I have to file the report?

Send your report to the FAA at the following address: FAA, Civil Aviation Security Division (AMC-700), P.O. Box 25810 , Oklahoma City , OK 73125 . Be sure to send the report via Certified Mail and request a return receipt so you will have a record to confirm that the report was filed on time and was received by the FAA.It may also be faxed to the Civil Aviation Security office at (405) 954-4989.

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What does the report have to say?

There is no official form to use for filing.Simply send the FAA a letter containing the following information: (1) name, address, date of birth, and airman certificate number; (2) the type of violation that resulted in the conviction or the administrative license 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.

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Who should file the report?

Either you or your attorney may file the report.Just be sure that the required information is included and that the envelope is postmarked no later than the sixtieth day.

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What if I am convicted of a DUI and also lose my driver’s license?

You must report both a conviction and a suspension or revocation of your driver’s license under 61.15(e).It is important to understand that a DUI arrest can result in a conviction but not a license suspension, a suspension without a conviction, or both a suspension and a conviction.You must report both to the FAA 61.15(e) if both occur, although those reports may not take place at the same time.You would simply note that the second motor vehicle action being reported arose from the same incident as the previously reported matter.This clarification prevents the FAA from treating you as a repeat offender, a status which carries significant potential problems for your airman and medical certificate as discussed below.

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What disclosure is required on the Application for Airman Medical Certificate?

If you are convicted of DUI, or your license or privilege to drive is suspended, or both, you must also disclose that information on your Application for Airman Medical Certificate every time you renew your medical.Block 18.v. of the medical application requires full disclosure of “(1) any conviction(s) involving driving while intoxicated by, while impaired by, or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug; or (2) a history of any conviction(s) or administrative action(s) involving an offense(s) which resulted in the denial, suspension, cancellation, or revocation of driving privileges or which resulted in attendance at an education or rehabilitation program.”

For example, this section requires disclosure in situations where your DUI is dismissed on the condition that you attend a rehabilitation or educational program.If you participate in or attend counseling, you may be required to disclose this is in block 19 of the application dealing with “Visits to Health Professional Within Last 3 Years.”If you are unsure after reading the instructions, consult with an experienced attorney or with the aviation medical examiner conducting your flight physical.

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How do I make the disclosure on the medical certificate application?

Read and follow the instructions contained on the instruction page attached to the medical certificate application.Once you have made this disclosure in full, block 18.v. may be filled out on subsequent applications by entering the phrase, “Previously reported - no change.”

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What are my reporting requirements if my DUI charge is pled down to a reckless driving conviction?

According to an opinion letter from FAA counsel, an airman is not required to report a reckless driving conviction under 61.15(e) even when the original charge was for DUI.With respect to the medical certificate application, the airman would be required to disclose the reckless driving conviction if it resulted in the denial, suspension, cancellation, or revocation of driving privileges or resulted in attendance at an education or rehabilitation program.

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What is likely to happen to me after I make the required report under 61.15(e)?

If you have been convicted of a first-time DUI or suffered a first-time suspension of your driver’s license or privilege, the FAA will not institute any type of enforcement action of its own.However, if you are arrested for a second DUI and as a result you suffer a subsequent motor vehicle action, the FAA is more likely to get actively involved, particularly when the subsequent action occurs within three years of a previous action.In that event, the FAA may suspend or revoke a pilot’s license.

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What is likely to happen to me after I make the required medical application disclosure?

For first time offenses, it is unlikely that the FAA will take any action.A second offense at any time thereafter constitutes a disqualifying condition of “substance abuse” as defined in FAR Part 67.This renders the airman medical certificate invalid and will likely require a tedious substance abuse evaluation before the FAA considers reinstatement.

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What will happen if I don’t make the required report under 61.15(e)?

Not reporting a motor vehicle action under 61.15(e) can result in worse consequences than if you made the report in the first place.Possible penalties include suspension or revocation of your pilot’s license.Based on your individual circumstances, these consequences can vary in length.If you find that the sixty days have passed and your report has not been filed, file it immediately with an explanation as to why the requirements of 61.15(e) were not met.A candid explanation in a contrite tone may help you avoid negative consequences, although there is obviously no guarantee.

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What will happen if I don’t make the required disclosure on the medical application?

Failing to disclose the required information on your medical application can result in revocation of your medical certificate.It may also result in the suspension or revocation of your airman certificate.

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Do I have to make these reports or disclosures if I’m a pilot licensed by the military or by another country’s aviation authority?

No.Only pilots licensed by the United States FAA are subject to these reporting requirements.However, if you are licensed by the U.S. military or a foreign aviation authority and also by the FAA, then you are bound by these requirements to report.

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