My name is Nick. I’m 22 years old and I strongly desire to become a commercial pilot. I’m concerned that a piece of my past will haunt me in the future with regard to my eligibility to be hired at major airlines. Any insight or advice is appreciated.
In June 2017, I was arrested for possession of marijuana here in Texas. It was a first offense, class C misdemeanor. I served two years of pre-trial probation (mailing monthly check-ins). In July 2019, the case was dismissed, thank God. I’m wondering whether this will affect me or not because I was not convicted of the crime in a trial, but only arrested for the offense when it occurred. I haven’t been arrested for anything else since then.
It would be a shame if I invested this much money into flight school now just to be shut out of my dream job later for this stupid lapse of judgement. Thank you for reading this inquiry.
Check with a local AME (Aeromedical examiner) about particular substances as it affects your ability to qualify for a medical, especially the First Class required by ATP. I am not saying you do or don’t use cannabis, but if I remember correctly Schedule 1 substance use (“abuse” as they may call it in terms of the Feds) requires 2 years or something of abstaining in order to qualify.
Again, talk with your local AME about the specifics, but a Medical is your first roadblock to anything flight related. ATP does say they drug test, as well. Just for consideration.
There are two issues here. The first is obtaining a medical certificate. Without one, you will not be able to proceed with flight training. You will have to answer the following questions:
Beyond that though, I could see an airline potentially having an issue with your record. I would suggest that you call the recruiting departments of several regional airlines ands ask them about your situation before you spend any money on flight training.
The main issue is obtaining your First Class medical. Beyond that IF you keep yourself clean you should need fine. If not you won’t be.
Thank you for posting these questions from the First Class medical exam.
For the first question: No
I wasn’t arrested for driving under the influence, just possession. My driving privileges have never been suspended or revoked for any reason. I wasn’t ordered to attend an educational or rehab program.
Second question: No
The case was dismissed, therefore I wasn’t convicted.
Third question: Unsure
As part of my pre-trial probation after the arrest, I was ordered to submit to weekly drug tests until I was clean. I was then subject to random tests for the remainder of the probation. I failed the first drug tests because they were designed to be failed to show I wasn’t continuing to use. I’ve never failed any drug tests other than those weekly ones.
Your advice is well-received. I’ll be making calls to the regional airlines tomorrow. I’ll also call a few major airline recruiting departments, since being hired to a major airline is my endgame. I appreciate your time.
Thank you for your response. I’ve been keeping myself clean since the arrest. I only hope the third question from Chris’s reply won’t pose a threat to obtaining my First Class medical.
Sounds like the answer to the second question is a “yes” to me. You were arrested, and took part in weekly drug tests, which was probably some sort of rehabilitation program.
Bottom line, the FAA does not care about the technicalities of state law and how charges are pleaded down. They want to know if you have ever used illegal drugs and the answer for you is “yes”.
Now that does not mean that you will not be able to obtain a medical, it just means that you will likely have a longer, more difficult and more expensive path to a medical than most have.
Good point with the bottom line. Can you please tell me more about what this longer/more difficult/more expensive path to my medical entails? If you’ve previously extrapolated on this subject, please feel free to link another thread. Thank you.