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.

It’s Taking Forever To Get My FAA Medical Certificate

  • ON Dec 18, 2018
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

It’s not uncommon for airmen with deferred FAA medical applications to find themselves saying: “it’s taking forever to get my FAA medical certificate.” When an airman’s FAA medical application is “deferred” by the Aviation Medical Examiner “AME,” the airman’s FAA medical application is sent to the cold, dark, labyrinth of either the FAA’s Regional Flight Surgeon’s office or the Aerospace Medical Certification Division in Oklahoma City for further evaluation. In some cases, following a denial, a medical application can be sent to the Federal Air Surgeon’s office for further consideration. Unfortunately, in these cases, it’s hard to say how long it will take for the FAA to evaluate your FAA medical application and make a determination as to whether you are eligible to hold a medical certificate. But why does it take so long?

This article doesn’t assume to know every reason why it’s taking forever for you to get your FAA medical certificate. Every case is different. Nevertheless, in practice, there are two main reasons why it takes so long for the FAA to make a determination on a deferred FAA medical application. The first reason is completely out of the airman’s control: backlog. There are a lot of airmen with deferred FAA medical applications and an insufficient staff to keep up with the backlog. So, sometimes, waiting for a file to actually be reviewed by a doctor or analyst adds the biggest delay to an airman’s file review.

The second reason for the delay in getting a FAA medical certificate following deferral is not having adequate medical documentation to support your eligibility to hold a FAA medical certificate. In some cases, your health may legitimately be disqualifying and it may not be possible to provide sufficient medical documentation. In other cases, however, when you don’t send in quality documentation (i.e. documentation that is responsive to the FAA’s requests, evaluations from qualified physicians, etc), this delays the FAA’s review of your application. This usually leads to the FAA requesting additional information and the process, perhaps unnecessarily, dragging on for much longer than is necessary. The key is ensuring at the outset that you’re sending in documentation that is likely to establish your eligibility for FAA medical certification.

If your FAA medical certificate is under review or if you anticipate your FAA medical application being deferred, consult with a knowledgeable FAA medical attorney. An experienced FAA medical attorney can identify the FAA’s policies appropriate to your medical condition and assist with gathering and providing documentation that may aid in your eligibility to hold a medical certificate and potentially cut down on the time it takes to be issued a FAA medical certificate.

Contact your FAA medical attorney at The Ison Law Firm to discuss your FAA medical issues.

*consultation with an attorney is not a guarantee to faster medical certification

Should I Respond to a FAA Letter of Investigation

  • ON Dec 17, 2018
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

The first question airmen usually ask when faced with a FAA investigation is, “should I respond to a FAA Letter of Investigation?” The answer to whether you should respond to a FAA Letter of Investigation is actually quite nuanced. In that, the circumstances of every situation will dictate whether a response to a FAA Letter of Investigation is recommended. The key, however, is the knowledge that providing a response to a FAA Letter of Investigation is not required. As such, an answer to a FAA Letter of Investigation may be appropriate in certain situations where you know that providing a response will unequivocally acquit you of the FAA’s accusations.

For example, if the FAA is investigating a flight that you allegedly conducted on March 1st, but you weren’t flying on March 1st because you were in the hospital, you may want to bring that information to the FAA inspector’s attention. On the other hand, in most cases, providing a response will not usually help your situation…more on this herein. But won’t responding to the Letter of Investigation make me look better to the FAA inspector? Won’t the FAA inspector work with me if I just tell him all the details? While it cannot be said that a response to a FAA Letter of Investigation is never appropriate, it is equally hard to say that the FAA inspector, by the time he or she has issued a Letter of Investigation, is really interested in resolving the matter without, at a minimum, an administrative action or certificate action.

So, what’s the worst that could happen if an airman responds to a FAA Letter of Investigation? An admission that an airman makes can and will be used against the airman later on, in the event he or she attempts to appeal a certificate action to the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”). In that, most statements made out of court, which are later offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted, are considered “hearsay” and cannot (or rather, should not) be accepted into evidence.

The trap is that an airman’s statement in response to a FAA Letter of Investigation is an EXCEPTION to the “hearsay” rule under Federal Rule of Evidence 801. In that, an airman’s response to a FAA Letter of Investigation is considered an “opposing party’s statement” or a “party admission.” As such, anything that may be admitted in a response to a FAA Letter of Investigation is likely to be admitted into evidence by the NTSB Administrative Law Judge and weighed against your credibility as a witness or even make it easier for the FAA to prove their case.

While the FAA’s new Compliance Philosophy encourages a “transparent” attitude, usually by the time you’ve received a Letter of Investigation, the airman should carefully consider whether the FAA inspector has any intention of utilizing the Compliance Philosophy. As such, it is imperative that when you receive a FAA Letter of Investigation, you should receive contact a FAA defense attorney to evaluate your response and determine the best course of action.

If you’ve received a FAA Letter of Investigation, contact The Pilot Lawyer at The Ison Law Firm. The Pilot Lawyer is standing by to vector you through legal turbulence.

Failing to Disclose VA Disability Benefits On Your FAA Medical Application

  • ON Sep 07, 2018
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

Failing to disclose VA disability benefits on your FAA medical application could potentially be a big problem for you and your airman certificate. The sanction for providing an incorrect answer or providing an intentionally false answer to 18y. on  FAA Form 8500-9 (the FAA airman medical application) with respect to your VA disability benefits is revocation of all airman certificates. The sanction of revocation of all airman certificates means that the FAA will revoke an airman’s medical certificate, pilot certificates and type ratings, and any other certificates held by the airman (i.e. A&P certificate). A revocation typically allows for reapplication in a 12-month period (meaning that the airman must reapply as a student pilot 12-months after the date of revocation). However, a recent trend for failing to disclose VA disability benefits on your FAA medical application includes criminal referral and indictment for violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001. This was the unfortunate case recently for four airmen in the San Francisco Bay area, who were indicted for failing to disclose that they were receiving VA disability benefits on their FAA medical applications.

If you’ve found yourself in the position of having failed to disclose your receipt of VA disability benefits on your FAA medical application, you may be able to remediate the concern for intentional falsification and/or criminal prosecution if you take action immediately. Typically, but not in all cases, the FAA has a policy of amnesty if an airman discloses an omission before it is discovered by the FAA or an investigation is started by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General or Veteran’s Affairs Office of Inspector General. In each case where an airman has failed to disclose receiving VA benefits on their medical application, however, it is imperative that disclosure is done promptly, but in a calculated manner. Disclosure may elicit reexamination from the FAA’s Office of Aerospace Medicine with respect to an airman’s eligibility to hold an airman medical certificate. As such, it is important that if you’ve omitted your receipt of VA disability benefits on your FAA medical application(s), that you consult a FAA aviation attorney as soon as possible.

Call your FAA defense attorney at The Ison Law Firm today to discuss your options for remediating failure to disclose receipt of VA disability benefits on a FAA medical application. There may be a relatively simple solution to an otherwise daunting result. The Pilot Lawyer at The Ison Law Firm is standing by to vector you through legal turbulence!

*Please note that airmen who have been indicted have not been found guilty of the alleged crime(s).