Real Answers from Real Pilots

How The Federal Government Looks at Expunged Records

For those who may be interested, this was asked to me by Customs and Border Protection on an application I was filling out. There is no such thing as expunged records in the eyes of the Federal Government.

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So what happens if you were arrested but all charges were dropped and the case was expunged. Do you check yes or no

Kayla,

I think the question “have you ever been arrested or had charged that were removed expunged” is pretty clear.

Adam

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Kayla,

While we cannot help you answer questions on the medical form, we can say that you must answer truthfully.

It doesn’t matter if your record has been expunged. If it happened, it happened, and you must answer the question to the best of your knowledge.

Tory

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Kayla,

The medical form asks the question a bit differently. It asks about convictions for anything, and then arrests for alcohol or drug related offenses. Just answer the questions truthfully, bearing in mind that there is no such thing as expunged in the eyes of the federal government.

Chris

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Do you have to fill out a medical form if you’re already a pilot just applying for a different airline?

Kayla,

We fill out medical forms either once a year, or every six months, depending on your age. Those questions are asked each time. Furthermore, airlines ask their own questions and do their own, federal background checks, as does the FBI.

Whatever it is you are trying to hide, you are going to have to come to terms with, there are no secrets with the FAA.

Chris

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Thank you, just have heard many different things about expunged arrests. So just the be completely transparent regardless of anything. I wish there was a way to do an FBI background check on yourself

Kayla,

You don’t need to do a background check. If you’ve been arrested, expunged or not you need to be honest and disclose the information.

That was the point of this thread.

Adam

What if you were never arrested, but were charged, and the case was dismissed?

Given the second question “Have you ever been arrested or had charges that were expunged or removed”, I assume even the dismissed charges would need to be included?

You have to read the question and answer it accurately.

Doing an fbi background check on yourself is a simple process and your right. Just Google it for details. You’ll need fingerprints, a form and check. Probably takes a couple months to get your report these days. It’s not a bad idea in general to make sure no surprises pop up. On rare occasions identities get crossed or stollen.

I’m not recommending being dishonest on your medical. The fbi report might not show arrests or minor convictions if you were never fingerprinted. It WILL show anything that was “expunged”.

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Thank you for the kind response.

My cousin is going through this process currently for his medical.

Issues:
-Arrest for DUI : Charges dropped, record expunged.
-Disability from military (but overall perfectly healthy in my opinion as a CFI).

He went to the AME and he did disclose this info but didn’t have any documents to support it and the AME deferred him to OKC.

He now has to send his notice of Expungement and a copy of his VA medical records to them. After that I believe he will be approved without issue. Probably take acouple months for FAA response though.

If he had the documents with him at the AME appointment he probably could of gotten his medical that day.

This shows it’s always important to be prepared for these appointments.

I think if you were actually convicted it could be a bigger issue.

I have another friend who lost his medical because of a public intoxication with a BAC of .16. The charges were dropped but he reported it to the AME and was deferred for .16bac. 2yrs, thousands of dollars, lost airline job (choose not to go into HIMS on lawyers advice) and still working with the FAA to get a special issuance.

Moral of the story, be responsible when it comes to alcohol. It can ruin a career.

Chris F

Edit* I can’t screen shot it now (just had medical renewed), but if you click on the question mark on form it will say what info to add if something was expunged.

For Adam: we spoke to the Regional Flight Surgeon for Southern states yesterday about how to proceed with his medical, so I was relying his directions.
And yes, to a certain degree a CFI can judge a student pilot on their fitness to fly. It is also a CFIs responsibility to ensure their student is safe to fly (within reason for a non-medical trained individual). That’s why the FAA will sometime request a letter from a CFI asking for their opinion if a certain condition their student has, has shown to cause an issue while performing pilot duties.

(For clarity I am not paid by or sponsored by ATP. my posts are my opinion or words of someone else being quoted by me)

I’m sorry but really? Just to clarify our policy is no one but an AME is qualified to give medical advice and I think it’s a good one.

Adam

I am going to close and lock this thread. The point of the post is that whatever you have done, will always have to be answered for. Answer the questions honestly and exactly as they are asked.

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