Driving Record question

I was hoping I could get some help, I am an EMT currently going to school for a higher healthcare degree. I’ve always wanted to become an airline pilot, but I never thought it was a possibility. I got arrested for a dui when I was 18, and for possession of marijuana, I had to do a diversion program, and the marijuana charge was dismissed, however the dui was lowered to a reckless driving. It has never shown up on my background checks, but it does show up on my driving record. I am 27 now and haven’t had any tickets as I drive an ambulance. Would I be able to become an airline pilot? Or have I screwed up too much already?

Use the search function and you find most of these answers.
3-5yrs since conviction is usually the amount of time Regional airlines want before hiring a DUI… but yours is reckless driving. I forget what could happen over a dismissed weed charge (use search function)?

I would contact AOPA legal department and an aviation attorney before talking with an AME. (Example: If you know your BAC was over 1.5 and the AME asks that, then they may have no choice but to deny your medical pending review by FAA). And that could take over a year and thousands in fees and doctors visits

Reckless driving is another charge (like dui) that might not let you in Canada. But I’ve heard Canada’s system doesn’t see every states driving records. So another thing to ask lawyer.

The simple answer is, yes you can absolutely get to airlines and have a career. Long answer is don’t get in more trouble, and look into the process so you don’t hit any unnecessary roadblocks, and learn what one can’t be avoided.

Chris F


While neither the FAA nor the airlines are huge fans of DUIs or marijuana use, if you’ve been “clean” since you were 18 you should be fine. Just make certain you disclose everything on your medical application.

I was at a national union meeting just yesterday and the aeromedical people were discussing how the govt has expanded their records network and capabilities. Apparently pilots getting busted for falsification has gone up dramatically in the last couple of years. That can result in a loss of all licenses. Definitely not worth it.


Okay thank you for getting back to me, I apologize I don’t really know much about the terminology in aviation, what is the AOPA? Also the dui was for marijuana use, I know they did a blood test, but I don’t know the results of it. I will definitely continue to do my research I don’t want to go through everything only to find out I’m not hireable. I did have one last question, for the medical certificate i would have to get, would I be rejected before earning a pilot license or would I not know until after?

Thanks for getting back to me. Okay I understand, I did notice everywhere I’ve read that I should disclose of everything to the FAA. What I’m having trouble understanding is when would I being telling them, before investing in flight school or after I’ve finished everything?

AOPA is a aviation organization that offers a ton of resources for pilots. They have a website, magazine and a bunch of services for a fee. I will post a link below to get you started.

The medical is the first thing you want to secure BEFORE you invest in any flight training. It could be a few months to even a year to potentially get things sorted out. However you definitely don’t want to invest in any professional flight training until you secure the medical because the first class medical is required to be an airline pilot.


That’s a question best reserved for an AME (Aviation Medical Examiner). To my knowledge when you apply your application will be deferred and sent to the FAA for their recommendations. If everything you say is true and there are no other issues it shouldn’t take more than a few months.

To answer your question you would need to know long before you get your license. While you can begin your flight training without a medical you cannot solo or go beyond that until you have one.


Okay awesome, thank you guys so much for all the information!


Your first hurdle is getting a FAA medical, the others have detailed that process. I also think you could encounter some barriers in regards to the marijuana possession. It is irrelevant that you were not convicted, the FAA asks if you have ever been arrested for such.

I would strongly encourage you to contact the recruiting departments of several regional airlines and ask them directly before investing any money into this career.