The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates and controls all pilot licenses within the United States. Under Federal Law, if you are convicted of any Federal or State drug offense or DUI, you must inform the FAA’s Security and Investigations Division, through the issuance of a notification letter, within 60 calendar days of the alcohol-related conviction or administrative action.
Pursuant to 14 CFR 61.15, the following actions are considered convictions (incomplete list):
- Utah’s Driving License Division (DLD) revoking, suspending, or cancelling your driver license for a drug or alcohol violation or a refusal to submit to a chemical test.
- A criminal conviction of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) or impaired driving.
Therefore, if the DLD takes administrative action against your license and then you are later convicted of DUI, you must submit two Notification Letters to the FAA. The first notification letter must be sent after the DLD takes administrative action against your license; and, the second notification letter must be sent after the criminal conviction is entered against you by the court.
If the pilot fails to notify the FAA within the designated 60 day period, the FAA may take the following action against the pilot’s license:
- Denial of an application for any certificate, rating, or authorization issued by the FAA for up to one year after the date of the motor vehicle action.
- Suspension or revocation of any certificate, rating, or authorization issued by the FAA.
As you probably noticed, the mandatory self-reporting requirements apply only to convictions, not arrests. However, even if you self-reported the conviction, you must still answer YES on question 18(v) on FAA form 8500-8 (the FAA’s medical history and physical examination form). Question 18(v) asks if the airman has a history of arrests, convictions, or administrative actions involving driving while intoxicated by, or while under the influence of, alcohol or a drug.
When Form 8500-8 is processed by the FAA and there is a report of a DUI on the application, the file is matched against the 61.15 security database. If the database shows that the FAA Security Division was not notified within the 60-day time period, the FAA will take action against all of the pilot’s certificates.
Further, if the chemical test shows that your blood alcohol concentration was 0.15 percent or above, the Aviation Medical Examiner must defer issuance of the medical certificate and you will be asked to provide a substance abuse evaluation. If the results of the substance abuse evaluation show that you do not have a substance abuse problem, the FAA will clear you and issue the medical certificate. If the results of the evaluation show other problems, the FAA may require additional evaluations in order to determine your eligibility for certification.