Things from the past

I was paper arrested for shoplifting when I was 16 and once I turned 18 (I’m now 26) had it expunged from my record. When I turned 18, I enlisted in the Air Force and I am still serving. I have since that one mistake not gotten into any trouble with the law, for the exception of a speeding ticket that I have long taken care of and I have no points on my record.
Will this expunged mistake from my past affect my future at becoming a commercial pilot? Do I need to bring this up during my FAA med exam, even though it has been 10 years?
Thank you


Box “W” on FAA Form 8500-8 asks about history of nontraffic convictions (misdemeanors or felonies). So yes. You will have to disclose this and anything else that is asked on this form.

You will also need to disclose this when applying for a job as a pilot as you will be asked, “Have you ever…?” Your “expunged” record is still visible to the FAA.

Yes it will affect your chances of becoming a commercial pilot so you need to make sure you don’t get into any more trouble and are honest about your history and take responsibility for your actions and communicate that you are not that person anymore.

Also, you can start now by rephrasing your telling of your story. The way you tell it sounds like a desperate attempt to downplay what happened. Just say it like it is. Here are some suggestions.

Just say arrested.

Just say you also received a speeding ticket.

Just say arrest or record or convictions.

I do think (no guarantees) that you still have a good chance of becoming a commercial pilot. The fact that you’re serving, I think, is the best thing you have going for you.


Thank you for your help!