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Flying FUI

Pilots who fly any commercial or private aircraft under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be charged with flying under the influence, or FUI. Flying under the influence is punishable under both federal and state law, and carries strict punishment. Pilots in California charged with FUI should consult with a California criminal defense lawyer experienced in flying under the influence defense.

Pilots must follow both state law and Federal Aviation Regulations, or FARS, governed by the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA has strict rules regulating the consumption of alcohol by crew members of any civil aircraft, either commercial or private.

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Attorneys for the firm represent clients accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or driving with a blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit in San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Sonoma and Napa counties.

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Federal Aviation Administration prohibits anyone from acting as a crew member if an individual has consumed alcohol within eight hours of a flight, while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04 percent or greater. A pilot or crewmember who violates any of these provisions faces imprisonment, fines, and revocation of his or her pilot's license.

An implied consent law similar to the one governing vehicles on the ground applies to pilots and crew members. Implied consent means that anyone arrested for flying under the influence of alcohol or drugs must take a chemical test upon request. A pilot who refuses a chemical test risks a substantial fine and suspension or revocation of his or her pilot's license.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI), or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) convictions also jeopardize a pilot's flying privileges. Drunk driving convictions must be reported to the FAA via the pilot's first-class medical application, and to the Civil Action Security Division in Oklahoma City. This notification must be made within 60 days of a DUI conviction. (See Reportable California driving under the influence (DUI) and California driving with a blood alcohol level of .08% (DUI) administrative actions or criminal convictions for pilots.)

Pilots also are required to report any actions taken by the state as a result of a drunk driving conviction, including a driver's license suspension. If the pilot's driver's license is suspended related to a DUI offense, this must also be reported to the FAA Civil Action Security Division in Oklahoma City within 60 days of the suspension.

Pilots who neglect to report either a DUI criminal conviction or a driver's license suspension stemming from a driving under the influence (DUI), or driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrest, the pilot face additional penalties. If a pilot's driver's license is suspended twice during a three year period, the FAA can deny an application for a pilot's license, or revoke a current license.

Both flying under the influence and driving under the influence convictions pose serious threats to a pilot's flying privileges, so it's critical to have skilled legal counsel. A California FUI lawyer skilled in both DUI defense and aviation law will devise an aggressive defense to keep negative repercussions to a minimum.

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