Are you attempting to obtain a FAA medical with two DUIs? If you have been arrested for DUI, you will need to report your arrest(s) at question 18v. on your application for FAA medical certificate. Even if you were not convicted of DUI, but arrested for DUI, you will still need to report the arrest(s) on your FAA medical application. If you are applying for a FAA medical with two DUIs, the FAA will inquire whether you meet their criteria for “substance dependence.” The criteria for “substance dependence” is relevant to airman who are applying for a FAA medical with two DUIs. Whether you are applying for a first-class, second-class, or third-class, medical certificate, the FAA’s standard for “substance dependence” is the same.

Specifically, the FAA’s criteria for “substance dependence,” as outlined in 14 C.F.R. §67.107 (first-class), 14 C.F.R. §67.207 (second-class), and 14 C.F.R. §67.307 (third-class), asks whether in your lifetime if you’ve ever met one of the four criteria: increased tolerance; manifestation of withdrawal symptoms; impaired control of use; or continued use despite damage to physical health or impairment of social, personal, or occupational functioning. If you have a history of two DUIs, the FAA will typically raise the issue that such a history meets criteria for continued use despite damage to physical health or impairment of social, personal, or occupational functioning. Historically, it has been the FAA’s position that an applicant should stop drinking or significantly curtail alcohol use after the applicant’s first arrest for DUI. In some cases, depending on the circumstances of your first DUI arrest, the FAA may have already required you to engage in a treatment program and expectation of lifetime abstinence. A second arrest for DUI suggests to the FAA that the airman is continuing to use alcohol despite impairment to personal functioning.

There are certain nuances to this general rule, in that there are some cases where an airman may have had a history of two DUIs from many decades ago. In those cases, if there have been no intervening events, the FAA may not consider the airman as meeting criteria for “substance dependence.” Every case is different and depending on the facts of your case, there may be a legitimate argument that can be made to the FAA to suggest that you do not meet criteria for “substance dependence” despite having two DUIs. Certainly, however, even if the FAA believes you meet criteria for “substance dependence” following a history of two DUIs, you are not permanently barred from achieving FAA medical certification. There are avenues via the FAA’s HIMS program, to where you can achieve certification via a special issuance authorization.

Why involve a FAA attorney with your FAA medical certificate with two DUIs? Despite what you may hear from your AME, the medical certification process is more so a legal process than a medical process. Ensuring that your doctor is developing the proper documentation regarding your two DUIs, as needed, can be a difficult task. To that end, everything that is submitted to the FAA (i.e. records, statements, evaluations, etc.) goes into your airman medical file. This file is what the FAA then utilizes to evaluate whether you are eligible to hold a medical certificate, despite your history of two DUIs. If you are later denied and wish to appeal that denial, your airman medical file becomes “Exhibit A” before the NTSB or upon reconsideration by the Federal Air Surgeon. So, a FAA attorney can evaluate your records, prepare a plan for best presentation of your case to the AME or FAA, and best argue your medical eligibility to the Federal Air Surgeon, with an eye for potential, future appeal. Furthermore, if your medical documentation is as strong as possible upon initial submission, in doing so, hopefully, you will avoid unnecessary delay. Also, if you have failed to report your two DUIs on your FAA medical application, a FAA medical attorney can give you counsel on how to rectify your omission.

Learn more about FAA medical certification with a DUI on The Pilot Lawyer Podcast.

If you are concerned about obtaining your FAA medical with two DUIs, call the FAA attorneys at The Ison Law Firm. We are happy to evaluate your case and discuss with you a plan for presenting your case to your AME or the FAA. Aviation law is all we do. Nothing else.