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Will a DUI Also Impact My Pilot’s License?

Suppose you hold a pilot’s license and find yourself facing charges of DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) or have experienced administrative license revocation. In that case, you must be aware of an additional layer of responsibility – reporting the incident to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This crucial step is essential for maintaining your pilot’s license and ensuring compliance with federal regulations. Failure to report such incidents within 60 days of their occurrence can lead to formal investigations and potential revocation or suspension of your pilot’s license.

Federal regulations mandate that all pilots, flight instructors, and ground instructors promptly notify the FAA’s Security and Investigations Division within 60 calendar days of an alcohol-related conviction or administrative action taking effect. This requirement extends to situations where you face administrative actions from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), such as license revocations for refusing chemical tests or registering a blood or breath sample above the legal limit of 0.08. Even if your court charges related to alcohol (DWI, DUI, DWAI) are ultimately dismissed, you may still be obligated to report the incident to the FAA.

The National Driver Register (NDR) is crucial in this process. It is a comprehensive database that compiles information on drivers across the United States. Any records of state actions, such as license revocations or suspensions, as well as convictions for alcohol and drug-related driving offenses, are accessible to the FAA through the NDR. As part of the pilot’s application or the renewal of their medical certification, they must provide the FAA with authorization to access these records. Suppose it’s discovered that an applicant or a pilot seeking certification renewal has an alcohol or drug-related conviction or even a driver’s license suspension or revocation. In that case, their application may be denied, or renewal may be withheld.

Taking immediate action to determine whether reporting to the FAA is necessary is of utmost importance for pilots. In certain circumstances, failure to report DMV actions, license suspensions, revocations, or convictions for alcohol or drug-related offenses in court can result in the suspension of your certification or the denial of your application for FAA certification, often for one year.


In summary, for individuals holding a pilot’s license, the responsibility to report DUI or DWAI incidents and administrative license actions to the FAA is a critical component of maintaining compliance with federal regulations and safeguarding their ability to continue flying. Prompt action and compliance with reporting requirements are essential to protect your pilot’s license and aviation career. For guidance and legal assistance in navigating these complex matters in Colorado, individuals can turn to experienced professionals like those at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, who specialize in alcohol and drug-related driving offenses and other driving offenses in the state, including those involving pilot licenses and FAA compliance.

Do you have further questions or concerns? Call us or contact the attorneys at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, and we will be happy to help.

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