DUI's And The Airline Industry

Sat Apr 28, 2001 12:08 pm

Hello to all,

My name is Adam Lucido and I am 18 years old. I have been accepted into Rocky Mountain College's aviation program and plan on attending in the fall. However, about a week ago, I came across a terrible misfortune, and I need some help/info./advice from some pilots or others who are experienced that might be able to help. About a week ago, I was pulled over by our local sheriff and was issued a moving violation. I had just started drinking when he pulled me over. He gave me a breathalizer test, and I only blew a 0.05 - Yes, far under the normal DUI standards which in Montana are 0.1, but there is a problem. I am under 21, therefore, which I'm sure many of you know, my legal limit is only 0.02. They like to call it a "mini-duie" and they, (both the sheriff and the judge) assure me that it does not carry the value of the full DUI and that I am not being charged of that. However, the judge did warn me that Insurance companies DO read this as a "full" DUI and they don't give a damn about what I blew or if I didn't fail the REAL legal standards. She claimed that all they see is a moving violation and they read it as a DUI; no if's, and's, or but's about it. Then, I became concerned about the airlines and the FAA. What are they going to think? How bad is this going to impair my future as a commercial pilot? I am really nervous and need some help. I pray that there is someone out there who can help me. My judge is suspending my plea until May 26th-she wanted to give me some time to find out about the aviation. She said that if there is going to be a serious problem in this area, then she would go before the state and try to grant me a "Deferement"- a sort of plea bargon so that this wont go down and be viewed as a DUI, but that's definately not guaranteed. Please email me back and let me know. I would really appreciate some feedback from anyone who can help Smile Thank you...
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Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2001 12:03 pm

RE: DUI's And The Airline Industry

Sat Apr 28, 2001 12:25 pm

Perhaps you should amend that sentence to read "about a week ago, i have placed my future career plans in jeopardy due to my own stupidity"
Up in the sky, hundreds of lives may depend on your strength of character in sticking to the airline's rules on no alcohol consumption prior to the flight - may I suggest the development of a backbone at some point between then and now.

Obviously, this is a serious situation and one that a pilot interviewer would review in-depth. Although age should never be used as an excuse, interviewers are aware that very young people sometimes have lapses of judgment.

Let's say you received the DUI when you were 19, and you apply at 26. This gives the interviewer seven years of behavior to review. In reviewing these seven years the interviewer discovers your driving record has been clean since the DUI, you have been consistently employed within aviation and have made good career progression, and you have excellent recommendations from your past employers. In addition, during your interview you were straightforward, took responsibility, and were willing to discuss the situation in depth. With this type of approach and concrete information, the chances of overcoming this black mark on your record are greatly increased. This is because you have proven that the DUI was not a normal pattern of behavior.

However, what if your record shows more traffic violations since the DUI, or a poor recommendation from a past employer, or perhaps several problems with your training? The DUI will then be much more difficult to overcome simply because it is now compounded by other problem areas.

Hope this helps - and remember, what's happened to you is a direct result of your own actions, not 'bad luck'. Be grateful you got this wakeup call now, and learn from it.

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Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 6:54 am

RE: DUI's And The Airline Industry

Sat Apr 28, 2001 3:09 pm

I spent 3 years involved with campus law enforcement and cases like yours were a weekly occurence.

For starters, let me stress that I am not fan of the "zero-tolerance" policy for under-21 DUIs. I have seen officers try to make a case with a 0.02 BAC which can be obtained without even drinking. I personally did not make a case unless there was at least a 0.07 involved with evidence of impairment.

I sincerely hope that you did not plead guilty or admit to anything related to the charges at your hearing though. If you haven't already done so, I urge you to retain a lawyer and get him to advise you about the best way to plead down your case to something minor like "less safe driver" and "underage possesion". It is imperative that you keep the DUI off your record, because it will be a stumbling block that haunts you for years.

I have seen one case with an Air Force ROTC person who begged the arresting officer to agree to a plea because a DUI would automatically disqualify him from flight training. I am not sure what the airlines would do, but at my dad's airline anyone with a DUI conviction is permanently barred from occupying the left seat. It is a serious career breaker and you need to avoid it where possible.

Feel free to drop me a personal email. My address is in my profile. I hope everything works out for you, and more importantly that you won't let something like this happen again!  Smile
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
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Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2001 4:52 pm

RE: DUI's And The Airline Industry

Sat Apr 28, 2001 3:22 pm

I work as a mechanic for a major airline and during my first week in the hangar, the director of maintenance sat us new hires down and chatted with us about a few things. During the course of the conversation, he told us that we should feel special because our company is very selective about the people they hire. If an applicant has anything in his background that might indicate poor judgment (DUI's included) he/she will not be considered for hire...period. Right or wrong, that's the way it is. I have a friend who was my supervisor at my last job and he can't get any of the majors to take a second look at him once they've checked into his background. I understand that people make mistakes and, being a Christian, I believe in forgiveness and second chances, but many in the business world (especially the airline industry) see it differently.

Patrick Bateman is my hero.