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4 Answers

Drivers License Suspension

Asked by: 1196 views
FAA Regulations, Private Pilot

Hello, I just have a question regarding reporting a drivers license suspension to the FAA.

About a week ago, I received a letter in the mail informing me that my state drivers license would be suspended for 30 days. This suspension was for a citation of having Marijuana in a moving vehicle that I received about two weeks after I received my Private Pilots License. After talking to a friend, he told me that I am supposed to report a drivers license suspension to the FAA 60 days after the event. I was researching online about my situation, but I couldn't seem to find much info about Marijuana convictions...most information was about alcohol related offenses. I just wanted to make sure before I report it that I really need to. 

The closest thing I found was on the AOPA website, stating that,

"Revocation is the usual penalty unless the drug offense was simple possession of a small amount of the drug. No special reporting is required on your part, but the FAA almost always finds out anyway."

Most of the info was in regard to if you were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In my situation, I simply received a possession charge for a pretty small amount.

Any help on the topic would be greatly appreciated!

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4 Answers



  1. Kris Kortokrax on Apr 01, 2016

    The Nelms interpretation should make interesting reading.

    http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/agc/pol_adjudication/agc200/interpretations/data/interps/1994/nelms%20-%20%281994%29%20legal%20interpretation.pdf

    61.15 is the regulation and it requires reporting a “motor vehicle action”. It also defines a “motor vehicle action”. Your situation does not appear to involve a “motor vehicle action”.

    However, pay attention to block O on the 8710-1 application form. It asks “Have you ever been convicted for violation of any Federal or State statutes relating to narcotic drugs, marijuana, or depressant or stimulant drugs or substances?” If you were actually convicted (i.e. the suspension was not as a result of a plea bargain), you need to check the box Yes and cannot apply for a certificate or rating until 12 months after the conviction date.

    You didn’t say whether you used marijuana or not, and I’m not going to make any assumptions. I will say that if you plan a career in flying you will be subject to pre-employment and random drug testing and won’t want to be using.

    If you are just interested in recreational flying, you still need to be aware of the question on the medical exam asking if you have abused an illegal substance in the last 2 years. In the instructions, it defines substance abuse as “use of an illegal substance”. The penalty for falsifying the application is revocation of your certificates.

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  2. pattymac21 on Apr 01, 2016

    Kris,

    What would happen if I reported the suspension even I didn’t need to? Would I face any unforeseen/unnecessary consequences? The article you listed seems to imply that small possession charges won’t suffice for revocation. I don’t have a problem reporting it, obviously, I just don’t want to be punished for anything I don’t need to be. Thanks

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  3. Kris Kortokrax on Apr 01, 2016

    61.15 doesn’t seem to require that you report it. Never volunteer information that is not required.

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  4. Mark Kolber on Apr 02, 2016

    Kris is correct. Do not report things you do not need to report.

    Kris is also generally correct on what needs to be reported but there’s a reason legal advice is not given in an Internet forum. It can’t be.

    Whether or notwhat you have is reportable (and how) requires looking at the package of paperwork. Not just the suspension letter, but the official paperwork that led up to it and any other charges or claims made and disposed of with respect to the incident.

    Faced with the same situation, I would review it with a lawyer who has some understanding of both the criminal and FAA process. I’ve often been surprised by clients who think they know what they have when the reality is quite different.

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