You may think that what happens when you are driving on the road will not have an effect on what happens when you fly a plane in the air, but the FAA does not agree. If a pilot gets arrested for driving while impaired in their car, it will have a direct impact on whether the FAA will allow a pilot to keep their airman's certificate.
Georgia Pilots Charged with DUI
If a driver gets pulled over on the roads or highways of Georgia, and is arrested for a DUI, Georgia state laws will affect how a pilot has to report the incident to the FAA. According to FAA regulations, after an alcohol-related conviction or administrative action, the pilot must notify the Security and Investigations Division of the FAA within 60 days. Most state DUI cases involve both a criminal proceeding and an administrative action. This means that if someone is arrested for a DUI, and later convicted of an alcohol-related violation, they will have to report twice to the FAA.
Administrative Action or DUI Conviction
Immediately upon arrest for a DUI, a driver only has 30 days to challenge an administrative suspension. This is not handled in the criminal court, but by the Georgia Department of Driver Services. A driver with a DUI arrest (before any criminal conviction) with automatically face an administrative license suspension (ALS) after 30 days. Administrative license suspension is an action which has to be reported to the FAA within 60 days. However, the only way to challenge the suspension is by requesting a hearing, which has to be done within 30 days from the date of arrest.
If a driver refuses a chemical test after a DUI arrest, then their license will be automatically suspended for one full year. This is due to the state's “implied consent law.” This is another administrative action which will have to be reported to the FAA. Additionally, if a driver is later convicted of a DUI or alcohol offense, this will require an additional report to the FAA.
Notification Letter and Medical Exam Reporting
Reporting to the FAA is done through a “notification letter,” which must include such information as the name, and contact information of the pilot; type of violation; state where the violation occurred; driver's license number; and whether this relates to a previously reported action. Similarly, any violation has to be reported during the medical examination process.
If a pilot fails to report the incident, they stand to lose their license. The FAA obviously takes DUIs seriously, but they take attempts to hide DUI offenses even more seriously. Failure to report will result in a suspension or revocation of the pilot's certificate.
The FAA will discover any DUI charges. In Georgia, the state will report any DUI arrest and conviction to the National Driver's Registry. When it comes time for the FAA to approve a pilot's medical certificate, they will cross check with the National Driver's Registry, and be notified of the violation and whether it was or was not reported.
Georgia DUI Defense Lawyer
A license to fly takes so much more time and money than getting a license to drive. Don't put it at risk by failing to fight your DUI charges. A Georgia DUI defense lawyer who specializes in defending people charged with DUI and alcohol related violations will represent you at both the administrative hearing and the criminal proceeding. Time to challenge the ALS is limited to only 30 days, so call our offices immediately. You can call 24/7, so we can get your charges reduced or dismissed, and you can keep your license to fly.