Atlanta is the busiest airport in the country. ATL is the home of Delta Airlines, and a major hub for Delta flights. With so many planes flying in and out of Hartsfield, Atlanta has thousands of airline pilots driving to and from the airport every day, and around town during their time off. Like any other driver, they may get pulled over for a traffic violation, and subject to an arrest for driving under the influence. However, unlike most drivers, a DUI for a professional airline pilot can jeopardize their careers.
Delta Pilots With a DUI Arrest
Pilots are generally aware that a DUI conviction has to be reported to the FAA. However, in many cases, a DUI arrest will have to be reported even if the driver isn't even convicted. This is because FAA reporting requirements require reporting not only of a alcohol-related conviction for driving under the influence, but it also require reporting an administrative action. In Georgia, you only have 10 days after your arrest to challenge an administrative suspension.
In Georgia, a DUI arrest will result in an administrative process as well as the criminal process. The criminal process will give you a chance to plead guilty or not guilty, and could include a trial where you defend yourself against the DUI charges brought against you. A conviction will require you to report the action to the FAA. However, the administrative action will happen automatically, unless you actively challenge your license suspension.
The Georgia Department of Driver Services will automatically suspend your driver's license after a DUI arrest after 30 days. But you don't have 30 days to wait. You or your Atlanta DUI lawyer will have actively request an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) hearing within 10 business days of your DUI arrest. This will lead to an ALS hearing where your lawyer can challenge the suspension, so you can keep your license. If you fail to request an ALS hearing in 10 days, your license will be administratively suspended, and you will have to report the incident to the FAA.
Refusing to submit to a chemical test will also result in a suspended license, which has to be reported to the FAA. After being arrested for a DUI, the officer will ask you to submit to a chemical test. They may offer a blood, breath or urine test. The choice is not up to you. If you refuse the chemical test offered, your license will automatically be suspended for one year.
The FAA requires a notification letter for each event, conviction or administrative action, which could mean sending multiple notification letters for the same incident. Reporting an alcohol-related motor vehicle action will initiate a preliminary investigation by the FAA, to see if the report was provided within 60 days, and if there are any other reportable actions.
Failing to report an alcohol related motor vehicle action will result in a formal investigation. If you don't report an administrative action or conviction, the FAA will discover the incident during the application for airmen medical. This includes a check of your driving record. Georgia reports this information to the national driver's registry. If the FAA discovers that you failed to report the incident, they may suspend or revoke your pilot's certification.
DUI Defense Lawyer for Delta Pilots in Georgia
For Delta, American or other major airline pilots, a DUI can be a threat to your future as a pilot. If you've been arrested for a Georgia DUI, you should contact a qualified and experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer to make sure you keep your license to drive and your pilot's certification. Give me a call as soon as you can, so we can file a 10-day letter, to stop any administrative actions being taken against you for a DUI arrest.