Student pilot with a sealed dismissed misdemeanor


I’m currently working on my flight training to earn my private pilot’s license. My long term goal is to eventually make it to the major airlines. However, about 4 years ago when I was 18, I was charged with an MIP for marijuana. I was driving with my friend’s paraphernalia in my car. Because of that, I had to go to municipal court and complete community service and probation for it. After my probation time was over, the case got dismissed and I was able to seal the record of the case, meaning I never got convicted for the misdemeanor at the end. I was told by the court that this wouldn’t come up on background checks as long as it wasn’t a government background check. Although, I’m aware that the airlines run FBI background checks. Will this negate all of my chances to make it into the majors or do I still have a chance? I’m currently 22 years old and my record has been squeaky clean ever since. I was young and dumb at the time and didn’t have any ambition to become a pilot. Obviously that has changed. Any advice would be greatly appreciated


I do not foresee this being a huge issue for you. You were young, made a mistake and learned from it. Just make sure to really keep that record clean moving forward and make sure to disclose it when asked.


It’s great to hear that Chris! I’ll will definitely keep my record squeaky clean like I have ever since. I do have one more question though. Will I have to disclose my case on the FAA first class medical when applying for it even though the record is sealed?


The question on the FAA medical form is “have you ever been arrested?”. Not have you been convicted, found innocent, has your record been sealed etc. etc. etc. If the answer is yes and you answer no then you’ve just committed a federal offense and that WILL impact your career.


Yes, you will need to disclose it to the FAA and you can probably expect some follow up questions from them. My gut feeling is that your medical will be deferred until they ask their questions, then it will be issued.

As for the airlines, depending on how they ask the question you will most likely need to disclose it. Remember that it is always better to disclose than to lie and get caught. Lying and getting caught is grounds for immediate termination.