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What happens if a pilot gets a DWI?

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Being a pilot is a privilege, which can also carry extra responsibility. Getting a DWI has serious consequences for anyone in Texas, but when a pilot gets a DWI, there are additional ramifications beyond what the average citizen would face.

If you’re a pilot who’s being charged with DWI, it’s crucial that you understand the extra obligations and potential consequences you might face. Not doing so could jeopardize your career.

Strict reporting requirements

Unlike many professions, a pilot who receives a driving while intoxicated charge is obligated to report that charge to the FAA promptly. If you haven’t done so within 60 days of the incident, you’re considered to have violated the reporting requirement. This will likely mean your pilot’s license will be suspended, possibly revoked permanently.

One area where pilots sometimes err is in reporting the DWI charge to their local FSDO. This doesn’t fulfill the reporting requirement, however. You discharge your reporting obligation only by reporting the charge to the FAA in Oklahoma City.

Consequences for repeat DWIs

A single DWI can often have severe ramifications for a pilot’s career, but if you follow the reporting rules, you can recover from it. However, the FAA takes a much dimmer view of repeat DWI offenders.

If you receive a second DWI within three years, the FAA is within its rights to revoke your license permanently. This most likely means the end of your career. As a result, if you’ve received a DWI, it becomes absolutely vital that you stay on the right side of the law when it comes to driving while inebriated. The FAA may be open to a second chance, but third chances are unlikely.

As a pilot, a DWI charge carries extra responsibilities and consequences. Reporting the DWI to the FAA in Oklahoma City is a must, and multiple DWIs can cause the end of your career as a pilot.