DUI Reporting Requirements for Pilots

June 27, 2017

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The attorneys at Barnett Law Offices are experience with DUI reporting requirements for pilots.  If a pilot gets a DUI, there are 2 fundamental reporting requirements. The first is found at FAR 61.15, which requires a pilot to report a “motor vehicle action.”

FAR 61.15

A motor vehicle action is defined as “a cancellation, suspension or revocation of 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 or while under the influence of an alcohol or drugs.”

When a pilot is initially arrested for DUI, unless there’s an automatic suspension of their driver’s license, there is no reporting requirement at that time. The 61.15 reporting requirement comes with a 60-day deadline from the time of the motor vehicle action. The arrest itself doesn’t trigger the reporting requirement. Instead it’s the driver’s license suspension or conviction for DUI that triggers the reporting requirement.

In many cases, there is no reporting requirement at all under Section 61.15 if the pilot’s driver’s license has not been suspended or if the charges are later dropped to something that is not related to being under the influence, for example, reckless driving.

FAA Form 8500

The next substantial reporting requirement is the FAA Form 8500, which is a medical application.

The medical application requires pilots to report both an arrest and/or conviction for

  • a history of any arrests and/or conviction involving driving while being intoxicated by, while impaired by or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug, and
  • a history of any arrests and/or convictions and/or administrative actions involving an offence which resulted in the denial, suspension, cancellation or revocation of driving privileges or which resulted in attendance in an educational or rehabilitation program

If you get a good criminal defense lawyer and they manage to keep you from getting your driver’s license suspended and there is no conviction for a DUI, but instead, in our example, a conviction only got reckless driving, then you don’t have to make a 61.15 report.

However, you still have to report the arrest on the medical application and there are very few cases where a pilot can say he was not arrested for a DUI.

Certainly, a pilot who is arrested for DUI needs to talk with an experienced aviation attorney about his or her reporting requirements.

If the pilot fails to report within the 60 days then comes to you not knowing what to do, what would you do for that pilot?

We would very likely send in a 61.15 report that was late. It’s always better for the FAA to get negative information from the pilot rather than a third party. That tends to mitigate the sanction that the pilot may otherwise receive.

Learn more about the attorneys at Barnett Law Offices.

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