Driving while intoxicated, sometimes called driving while drunk, refers to operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/ or drugs. In Texas, the blood alcohol content (BAC) level that is considered over the legal limit to drive is 0.08 percent. BAC limits also exist for operators of other types of vehicles, such as aircrafts and boats.

Does Texas Have a Law Prohibiting Pilots from Flying an Aircraft While under the Influence?

Yes. The Texas law prohibiting pilots to fly while drunk or high is called flying while intoxicated. This law makes it illegal for any person who is intoxicated to operate an aircraft.

What Does It Mean to Be "Intoxicated" to Fly an Aircraft?

To be intoxicated in Texas means the person doesn’t have the normal use of their physical or mental faculties. The impairment of their physical and/ or mental faculties is due to consuming:

  • Alcohol resulting in a BAC level of 0.08 percent or more
  • Drug(s)
  • Other controlled substance
  • Combination of alcohol, drugs and/or other controlled substance

Is This Crime the Same as Having a DUI in Texas?

In most respects, it is the same as a DUI. However, the law only pertains to operating an aircraft, not a motor vehicle.

What Is the Penalty for Operating an Aircraft While Intoxicated?

Flying an aircraft while intoxicated is a Class B misdemeanor. This means a person faces:

  • 180 days in county jail
  • Fine of $4,000
  • A fine and county jail time

The minimum jail time is three days.

Will I Face a Tough Penalty If This Is My Second Flying While Intoxicated Offense?

Yes. A secondary offense is a Class A misdemeanor. The potential punishment would then be:

  • Approximately one year in county jail
  • $4,000 fine
  • Both fine and jail time

Do I Need an Attorney?

Yes. Flying while intoxicated is a serious charge. Contact a Texas DUI/DWI attorney immediately to start working on a defense.