Flying under the influence, or FUI / FWI, is a serious crime that carries the potential for imprisonment, fines, and suspension or revocation of a pilot’s license. Because the penalties for FUI / FWI can be so severe, anyone charged with flying under the influence should consult with a California criminal defense attorney experienced in defending alcohol-related flying arrests.
Pilots operate under an implied consent law similar to the rules governing driver’s licenses – any pilot suspected of flying under the influence must submit to a chemical test to determine his or her blood alcohol content (BAC). Any pilot who refuses to take a chemical test faces additional fines and license suspensions.
Pilots arrested for driving under the influence face reporting requirements with the FAA. Pilots must report Driving Under the Influence convictions or DMV driver’s license suspensions to the FAA within 60 days. Anyone who fails to report a conviction or driver’s license suspension faces revocation of his or her pilot’s license.
In most cases, a pilot who reports a DUI / DWI conviction or driver’s license suspension to the FAA does not lose his or her pilot’s license. The pilot generally is required to undergo a substance abuse or psychiatric evaluation. Depending on the results, the pilot may be required to enroll in a substance abuse treatment program, submit to close monitoring by the FAA, or undergo random drug or alcohol testing.
Because of the strict penalties imposed against pilots for flying under the influence and DUI / DWI, it’s critical to have excellent legal representation. A lawyer with experience defending Flying Under the Influence cases can mount an aggressive defense and keep consequences to a minimum.