Real Answers from Real Pilots

Misdemeanor 23512 DUI expunged after 17 years

There was a 23512 (DUI) over 17 years ago and 20 years ago. They have since been expunged. That being said it’s legal to answer no to this question if ever asked. Alcohol isn’t a problem. Yes almost 20 years ago, it caused a problem. It was something very dumb and plays no role currently nor for many years.

A follow up to that is that those DUI’s are still on the DMV record. The DMV records has those two blemishes that I explained above and also a 14601 (driving on suspension) stemming from not having auto insurance during an accident from 1994. This is also a misdemeanor.

I read an article “FAA SECURITY BACKGROUND CHECK RULE EXPLAINED” – it discusses employment history (no problem there) and criminal history records checks (if applicable).

I gather a criminal background check is done by default, even after any and all questions are asked, is this correct? And are the DMV records checked automatically as well?

Does anyone foresee any problems that might arise regarding these matters? Basically I am fishing for anything that might cause an inability to fly. An investment in training that costs tens of thousands of dollars would be worthless if ultimately being hired to fly is not possible.

Thanks!

Of course the airlines do criminal background checks and of course this includes driving records.

The airlines ask “Have you ever…”. They don’t ask if you have expunged or old records, they ask if you have ever had an issue with these things.

Three DUIs and multiple arrests is a lot, I could very easily see then causing you a problem with the regionals and the majors would not consider you at all. I recommend that you contact the hiring departments of several regional airlines and ask them about your situation.

Chris

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Thank you for your insight. What department of the regional airlines should I contact do you think? Human Resources?

If I may ask a follow up question? Who or what entity has the word Go, No go? FAA? or Airline? Or both do the same? Or does FAA do the checks and the airline is the interviewer and relies on FAA doing their part?

And one more follow up question. Is there anything that I can do to prove that I’m very good to go at this point in my life. A medical thing? A doctor evaluation process? A alcohol and drug (don’t know the word here) program by FAA for evaluation purposes? Letters of recommendation? I don’t know how or what I can do to help me convince that alcohol isn’t a THING. I was irresponsible as a 21 year old in a big city. I’m now over 40. Does this line of questioning make sense?

I’m not sure anyone will be able to determine if alcohol will be a future issue. I also believe since it is not on your record that it will come down to each individual employer to decide if you are too much risk. It may be a case by case basis per interview. It may be a company wide thing to not take that risk, no matter how small. I would get ahold of the HR department of a few regionals and see what they think.

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I would contact their pilot recruitment departments, most of the regional airlines list such info on their websites.

Once you are approved by the FAA for a first class medical they will not be involved in the process anymore, the airlines make the decision who they hire.

The only thing you can really do is show that you have had a clean track record for the last twenty years, which it sounds like you have. Beyond that, just have an explanation for how you were a foolish kid and now are a mature, really regret those poor decisions, etc.

Chris

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Thank you for your input. Much appreciated!

Thank you Chris! I was forwarded a letter this week that an airline recruitment team is coming to my town in a couple weeks.

To be clear:
“Once you are approved by the FAA for a first class medical they will not be involved in the process anymore, the airlines make the decision who they hire.” – does this mean that the FAA is responsible for backgrounds and approving a pilot rights to fly? Do the airlines also do background checks?

Thanks again, Chris! Much appreciate your time.

What the FAA is saying is they’ll make their determination but it’s still up to the airline to make their decision. If the FAA says you’re done then your done BUT even if the FAA says ok that’s no guarantee the airline will as well.

All the airlines do their own background checks including driving, criminal and financial. If there’s something on there they will find it and if they find out after you’re hired than in addition to the criminal record you’ll have an airline dismissal on it.

Adam

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I am really not sure who is doing the background checks, I would assume that on some level both the FAA and the airlines do. Bottom line is that if there is something there, they will find it, so don’t lie about it. Just be honest and be ready to explain how you have changed.

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Great advise. Thanks a ton!

I hear it loud and clear now.

What gets me, is that expungement is defined as “the legal right to say no to past crimes (ie DUI)” and also declared as, “in the interest of justice (grounds for expungement approval)” – and I was granted this.

I guess it boils down to “informed decision making” on behalf of the safety of the public, which gives FAA and the Airlines access to any and all information (sealed/expunged/pardoned cases) to make the best informed decision based on risk analysis.

Thanks for your time and input!

I would disagree with your definition of expungement. Expungement laws vary by jurisdiction, but generally speaking they cleanse the criminal conviction from the public record, but do not actually erase it from your record. The Department of Justice, and other agencies, still have access to the complete record, this includes the FAA. Many jobs that are considered to be “high security” often require applicants to report their whole record, even what has been expunged.

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This seems to be so now that I’ve thoroughly investigated this point. Thank you for clarifying this. Very much appreciated.

I’ve started scouting HIMS specialized doctors blessed by the FAA as AME certified. Likely, my records will call for, “Deferred Criteria”.

I read on the FAA website regarding in the area of ‘For the alcohol- or drug-related driving incidents:’..