Will a DUI Destroy Hopes of Obtaining a Pilot's License?

Being a commercial airline pilot is unlike any other job. The traveling, the experiences and the opportunities for success are just a few reasons why people aspire to be pilots. You can probably add your personal reasons to the list, and it is likely that list has grown since you first decided you wanted to fly.

Along with the perks, being a pilot requires tremendous responsibility. After all, many people — sometimes hundreds at a time — entrust their lives to you when they fly. This is why you will go through a rigorous process during which the Federal Aviation Administration and your future employer will determine if you are fit to pilot an airliner. One factor they will certainly consider is¬†your recent DUI arrest.

A difficult flight path ahead

The aviation industry takes drunk driving seriously, assuming that someone who is willing to drive a car after drinking may also have no qualms about piloting an aircraft in the same condition. Because of this concern, you have every reason to fear for your future as a pilot. Even if this is your first DUI, there is every possibility that you will face delays, if not rejections, along your path to becoming a pilot.

An important part of your pilot's license is a medical certificate demonstrating that you are fit to fly. If you have a DUI on your record, you may find the approval of that certification significantly delayed, if not rejected altogether. You will have to prove to the examiner that you don't have a problem with alcohol or that you have taken the proper steps to recover from your addiction. The examiner may still defer your application to the FAA for review for any of the following reasons:

  • You did not submit to a blood alcohol test at the time of your DUI arrest.
  • Your BAC was higher than .15.
  • You have a criminal record from the previous two years.
  • You have three or more arrests in your lifetime or two within the last 10 years.
  • You did not submit the proper medical certification documents before the deadline.

If your medical examiner defers your certification to the FAA, you will likely have even more paperwork to complete, for example, evidence of your continued sobriety.

Obtaining your pilot's license following a Wisconsin DUI arrest may be one of the most difficult things you have to do, and you may find the process discouraging. However, with proper legal assistance, you may be able to have a more optimistic outlook.