When a Pilot Fails a DOT Drug Test

  • ON Jan 25, 2019
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

The FAA’s guidelines at Order 2150.3b call for the revocation of all certificates when a pilot fails a DOT drug test. All Part 121 and Part 135 (and some Part 145) operators are required by the FAA at Part 120 to test pilots and other certificate holders performing safety sensitive positions for a variety of reasons. The variety of DOT drug test performed pursuant to Part 120 are: pre-employment, random drug testing, post-accident, drug testing based on reasonable cause, return-to-duty testing, and follow-up testing. While the sanction for a failure of any of these types of tests is a minimum of revocation of your medical certificate, this discussion will be limited to failure of random, DOT drug tests; failure of a random, DOT drug test is quite common and carries a sanction of revocation of your airman certificate, as well as your medical certificate.

When you fail a random, DOT drug test, you will likely first be called by the medical review officer (MRO) to discuss potential medical explanations for the failure. This phone call is very important, as what you tell the MRO can and will be used against you by the FAA. If the MRO determines that there is not a legitimate medical explanation for your failed test, the failure will be reported to your employer. In turn, your employer will report the failure to the FAA. You may or may not be terminated by your employer at this point.

Next, the FAA will send you a Letter of Investigation. Again, anything you say or do in response to the Letter of Investigation can and will be used against you – do not assume that you can explain away your failure to the investigator. The last administrative step before an appeal to the NTSB is usually receipt of an Emergency Order of Revocation.

An Emergency Order of Revocation for failure of a random, DOT drug test is appealable to the National Transportation Safety Board. When appealing a failed, DOT drug test revocation, there are numerous arguments that should be looked at, including proper collection, testing, employer reporting, and adherence to Part 40 (the DOT’s “handbook” for drug testing).

It is recommended that you retain a FAA defense attorney as soon as you learn of a failed DOT drug test. If you failed a DOT drug test, call your FAA defense attorney, The Pilot Lawyer, at The Ison Law Firm to discuss your options.

FAA Medical Application Deferred Due to A DUI

  • ON Jan 09, 2019
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

Was your FAA medical application due to a DUI on your record? When a FAA medical application is deferred due to a DUI, your aviation medical examiner (“AME”) cannot issue you a medical “on the spot.” Instead, your AME has to send your file directly to the FAA (either your regional flight surgeon or the AMCD in Oklahoma City) to determine if you can be issued a medical certificate. Careful planning prior to submitting a medical application to the FAA can sometimes prevent your FAA medical application from being deferred due to a DUI. In other cases, however, a deferral cannot be avoided when you have a DUI on your record.

If during your DUI event you had a BAC of below 0.15%, by providing detailed information about the DUI to the AME, you may be able to prevent a deferral to the FAA. In cases where your BAC was above 0.15%, your medical application will almost always be deferred to the FAA. Additionally, if you have had more than one DUI in your lifetime, your medical application is going to be deferred to the FAA. Nevertheless, in these cases, with proper documentation, attention to detail, and carefully following FAA policy, a FAA medical certificate or “special issuance” authorization can still be obtained. It is important to know that if your FAA medical application was deferred due to a DUI, you still have options to establish your eligibility for medical certification.

If you think your FAA medical application is going to be deferred due to a DUI or if your FAA medical application was deferred due to a DUI, call the FAA defense attorney at The Ison Law Firm to discuss a plan to avoid or fight the deferral.

*The Ison Law Firm does not provide medical advice, but counsels clients on FAA policies.

FAA Medical Assistance

  • ON Jan 07, 2019
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

When looking for FAA medical certification assistance, is it smart to hire an attorney? Having a FAA medical defense attorney on your side has its benefits when you need FAA medical certification assistance. When faced with a FAA medical application deferral, FAA medical denial, or FAA medical revocation, you have options on who to get help from – your aviation medical examiner (“AME”), your airline, your union, your pilot friends, FAA medical certification agencies, etc. However, having a FAA medical defense attorney provide FAA certification medical assistance offers you more protection than any of the foregoing. How so?

When a FAA medical defense attorney provides FAA medical certification assistance, certain documents and communication can be protected by the attorney-client privilege. This means that in the event your FAA medical certification issue is appealed to the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”), certain documents and communications may be protected from disclosure. Whereas, with non-attorneys providing FAA medical certification assistance, communication and documentation is generally exposed to subpoenas, requests for production, interrogatories, depositions, and a myriad of other discovery tools.

Furthermore, hiring a FAA medical defense attorney to provide FAA medical certification assistance may aid in the cultivation of evidence which may be necessary for a future appeal to the NTSB. In that, anything submitted to the FAA will be included in your airman medical file. Your airman medical file ultimately will become part of the FAA’s evidence in the event a denial or revocation is appealed to the NTSB. As such, careful legal review of what is being submitted to the FAA medical office now is paramount to a potentially successful appeal later.

There are numerous reasons why hiring a FAA medical defense attorney is crucial to obtaining proper FAA medical certification assistance. Call The Pilot Lawyer at The Ison Law Firm today to discuss your needs for FAA medical certification assistance.

  • FAA medical defense attorneys do not provide medical advice, but rather aid in the logistics, legalities, and strategy of airman medical certification processes.

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