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What happens to pilots arrested for drunk driving?

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2023 | Drunk Driving

Sadly, drunk driving occurs quite frequently in the state of Maryland. This is bad for the victims of drunk driving accidents and drivers. Being convicted of this crime can lead to harsh penalties that can affect the rest of your life. Some of these penalties may surprise you. If you are a pilot, you should know how it could negatively affect your flying career.

Penalties for drunk driving in Maryland

First, you should be aware of the usual penalties for drunk driving you are likely to encounter after a conviction in Maryland. This can include:

  • up to one year in jail, $1,000 in fines and a six-month license suspension for the first offense
  • up to two years in jail, $2,000 in fines and a one-year license suspension for the second offense
  • up to 18 months in jail, $5,000 in fines and an 18-month license suspension for the third offense

Penalties for pilots in the state of Maryland

However, if you are a pilot, you could face additional penalties. First, pilots are expected to immediately report a DUI arrest to the FAA. This of course is the Federal Aviation Agency that regulates civilian flight in the United States. While the case is in process, the likely response will be to ground the pilot.

If a conviction occurs, that pilot will be immediately fired by the airline they work for. The FAA will also deny that pilot’s aviation medical certificate. This will effectively end that pilot’s career indefinitely.

While getting back in the air after an arrest is impossible, it will require jumping through some hoops with the FAA. Overall, it’s much better to avoid drinking while driving or flying. If the arrest was unjustly made, fighting it in court will be the best strategy for moving forward.