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The Terrifying Realities of Flying Under the Influence (and the Consequences)

Arrests for DUI in Los Angeles and other venues occur with such frequency that they rarely make the news, unless the driver is a celebrity or unless an accident causes loss of life. What happens, though, when the stakes are much higher? What if the person under the influence is an airline pilot getting ready to fly a plane? In short, understandably, people panic…DUI-while-flying-los-angeles

On March 26th, an agent from the Transportation Security Administration spotted a pilot acting suspiciously at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Authorities gave him a breathalyzer test, and he reportedly failed. They arrested him, gave him a second breathalyzer test, which he supposedly failed again. This all occurred just a few minutes before the scheduled takeoff of a flight on which the accused man was supposed to serve as co-pilot.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s rules for blood alcohol content are much more stringent than state laws for DUI. They apply to all pilots, from those controlling massive commercial jets to those piloting single engine aircraft.
One FAA rule is an eight-hour “bottle to throttle” requirement; pilots have to stop drinking at least eight hours before they enter the cockpit. According to the FAA, many airlines require a longer 12-hour waiting period.

The rules for BAC measurements are also tougher for pilots than for vehicle drivers. Pilots can’t fly unless their BAC is lower than 0.04 percent (compared to 0.08 for drivers on land).

Fortunately, cases of flying under the influence are much rarer than DUIs. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says that police arrest about 1.5 million people for DUI each year. By contrast, the FAA reported only 10 pilot violations for alcohol in 2015, according to the Dallas Morning News. Pilots could spend time in jail and/or lose their license.

For drivers with land-based vehicles, California Vehicle Codes 23152(a) and 23152(b) set the penalties for misdemeanor DUI, which can include jail time, fines, license suspension and, in some counties, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.

Do you need help defending against a serious charge? Call a qualified Los Angeles DUI defense attorney with the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers immediately.

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