FAA Consequences for a Pilot Facing a California DUI charge

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The FAA has gotten more stringent regarding the treatment of pilots convicted of Driving Under the Influence (Cal. Veh. Code §23152(a) and/or §231252(b)). First-time DUI offenders will not escape the scrutiny by the FAA as easily as they have in the past. In California, Cal. Veh. Code 23152(a) states that it is unlawful to drive a vehicle by any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug. §23152(b) is referred to as the presumptive limit, and that states that it is unlawful for any person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.

Under the new FAA rules, anyone whose blood-alcohol content was measured at higher than .15 percent (or almost twice the California legal limit of .08) or who refused to provide a sample will automatically have their case referred to FAA headquarters. The FAA medics will then insist that the pilot applicant undergo a substance abuse assessment. Note, these penalties are in addition to any driving privilege suspensions the offender is already facing. In California, failure to submit to blood or breath sample upon arrest, oxymoronically referred to as “implied consent”, will result in a mandatory one year suspension of the offenders driving privilege.

There’s continues to be a requirement to report any alcohol related driving offenses to the FAA within 60 days. Failure to do so results in an immediate suspension. Also, any alcohol related driving suspensions must be reported on the application for medical certification when renewal time comes. The FAA has the ability to cross check the pilot applicant with the National Driver Registry that compiles the state’s driving records. If the FAA discovers the pilot failed to disclose an alcohol related driving offense on his medical application, the FAA will impose an immediate revocation to the pilots medical certification, thereby grounding the pilot and suspending their flying privileges until the issue can be sorted out.

If you are a private pilot and have been arrested for DUI or any other alcohol related driving offense, you need the assistant of a competent criminal defense attorney familiar with aviation law. Do not wait and do not make any statements to any investigators without first speaking to your lawyer. Anything you say can AND WILL BE used against you. It is important to safeguard your rights and your flying privileges. Contact the attorney’s at Houston Law of California immediately. Call 714.841.3921 today, or email at info@HBLawyers.net.

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