Will criminal history disqualify me?

Last month I was at the lowest point of my life. I was on antidepressant for few months and was in psych ward etc… After I got out of the dark place, I decide to pursue a lifelong dream: to become a pilot. But one night I decided to go out and drink and got wasted (I rarely drink alcohol). Absolutely no memory of the night and Next thing I saw was a paper saying that I was charged with criminal mischief(broke the glass door) and a court date. I damaged someones property and it was recorded on security camera. I’ve hired a lawyer and he said he can work something out. So here’s my question: will this affect my chance of becoming a pilot for commercial airlines? Im not asking if it’s going to show up on background check or not. I know it will. I want to know if these factors are automatic disqualification. BTW i’m off the anti depressant now(cleared by my psychiatrist).



Obviously neither the FAA nor the airlines like criminal behavior and alcohol/drug issues. Whether it’s a absolute disqualifier or not will be up to you. Both can forgive alot but we’re talking about a month ago and the number one thing that comes into consideration is time. Both want to see some time after the offense to see if this was a slip up or a lifelong pattern.

I can tell you for certain if you applied for either your FAA medical or to an airline today you’d be shot down because as you say “last month I was at the lowest point of my life”. Let’s be honest, would you want yourself or your family on a flight where the pilot upfront was at the lowest point in his life a month ago and had an evening of alcohol induced blackout?

Is this something you can get past? Probably but it will take time and you being squeaky clean from now on. If you aren’t then you won’t.


Hey Adam Thank you so much for your insight. Yeah I understand being a pilot comes with a huge responsibility considering lives of hundreds depend on you. I’m not making any excuses about my incident. It was stupid but it is what it is. I ve learned alot though.
I’m not planning to apply at the moment. I’m just at the stage of gathering information from different flight school. I have a long way to go. I just wanted to make sure before I make a huge commitment considering money and time I should spend.

Thank you so much!


You will have several hurdles to jump through with the FAA. Only a FAA Medical Examiner is able to answer your questions about medical certification, it is best that you speak with one of them directly.



As Chris said, your first step is trying to get a First Class Medical. They will review your history and decide. If it gets sent for further review, it can take months to come to a conclusion. Best to start there and see how that goes before digging too deep in to anything else flying wise. Without a medical, there is no career.

If you get one, then there’s more to talk about later.