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If you’re a pilot, prepare to defend against DUI charges


Drinking and driving is something you know better than to do, which is why you don’t. What you didn’t realize is that the combination of a single drink and your allergy medicine would impair you badly enough to cause you to weave in traffic. It exhausted you, and you were about to pull over when the flashing lights of a police officer’s vehicle pulled up behind you.

After the stop, you were arrested for a DUI. This is a serious charge even without having to worry about your professional license, but since you’re a pilot, you’re concerned that you may end up losing your job on top of the charges. What should you know about how a DUI will affect your license?

Driving under the influence and commercial pilots

If you are a commercial pilot and this is your first DUI, there are a few things that could happen. Accusations of a DUI could lead to you being fired by the airline or rejected out of training. That doesn’t mean that you won’t ever be able to be a pilot again, but it does mean that your time at that company may be at an end.

You will likely have to answer to the Federal Aviation Administration. A pilot could end up receiving a denial of their aviation medical certificate if they have a DUI on their record, which would prevent them from flying for the length of the denial.

In any case, it’s smart to fight the charges, so that you minimize the chance of getting a conviction and losing your license. Without a conviction, you’ll have a better chance of retaining your job or finding a new one soon.

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