RPA Certificate with a Sealed Poss Conv

FlapOperator

Any traffic please advise
Hello all,

A close member of the family reached out to me about registering their RPA Knowledge test on IACRA, and asked about the part where you need to disclose Drug Convictions (Block N), form 8710-1. It asks for Date of Final Conviction and there is a "Please explain" field.

She was pulled over and, when the policed inquired about the smell of marijuana, she admitted to have some in the car, which was 0.5 gram in quantity. She got convicted for Poss Under 20 grams. This happened in 2016 in the State was Florida, and she was 18. She attended a rehab program afterward and has that in writing.

Later, she worked with a lawyer to have the case sealed, and it was.

I was wondering, since the case has been sealed, if she should disclose it to the FAA at all. If yes, how deep into the case should she go when describing it.

Thank you in advance for your attention and time!

I know there are similar inquiries under the Aviation Attorney thread, but they are related to medical certificates, which as of right now aren't required for RPA people.
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
[It's Block O]

She will want to have her case personally reviewed by an attorney who understands both Florida criminal law and aviation issues. I have found throughout the years that a lot of folks who have been through the criminal process have little understanding of the procedure they went through. Factoid: sealing a record (or expunction) has been raised with the NTSB on appeal as a defense to an enforcement action claiming falsification of medical application a few times. In none of them was there actually an expunction! So the NTSB has never actually answered the question.

So this answer is general, and not intended to apply to anyone's specific case. I can't do more than that. Even, if the answer is, "yes, disclose," there is still the matter of the required explanation.

Although the IACRA instructions do not talk about expunctions, the instructions for the medial certificate application do. Here's what the medical application instructions say (with my emphasis):

"Conviction" means any judgment of guilt based on a jury, court, or military verdict, a plea of guilty, or a plea of nolo contendre/no contest. Examples include, but are not limited to, assault, battery, disorderly conduct, domestic violence, driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, murder, possession of drugs, public intoxication, reckless driving, etc. If you answer yes, you should report all misdemeanors and felony convictions regardless of the classification of the conviction and regardless of whether the conviction is pending on appeal to another court. List the charge(s) for which you were convicted, the date of the conviction, and the state, federal, military, or foreign court in which you were convicted. If a conviction has been reversed or vacated in a final judgment, state the date of the final judgment and the court that issued the final judgment. If the record of a conviction has been expunged, state the date that the record was expunged and the court that ordered the expunction.

So the FAA is on record about its policy toward expunctions. Whether the FAA would win or lose that battle if challenged, I don't know. But the second is that if by "RPA" you mean "recreational pilot" and not "remote pilot," the question is going to come up again in the medical application.


The other piece is that the reason for the question on IACRA is FAR 61.15(a):
A conviction for the violation of any Federal or State statute relating to the growing, processing, manufacture, sale, disposition, possession, transportation, or importation of narcotic drugs, marijuana, or depressant or stimulant drugs or substances is grounds for:
(1) Denial of an application for any certificate, rating, or authorization issued under this part for a period of up to 1 year after the date of final conviction;
or

So unlike the medical application, the use of the information is very limited. In the cases I have seen, an old conviction is not a problem to the issuance of the airman certificate; there's more of an issue with a medical certificate.

Sorry I can't be more help.
 
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FlapOperator

Any traffic please advise
Sorry I can't be more help.
No, thank you so much!!!! It really brightened the way for her. I'll be calling her tonight and I'm glad to have somewhat good news. Because this
So unlike the medical application, the use of the information is very limited. In the cases I have seen, an old conviction is not a problem to the issuance of the airman certificate; there's more of an issue with a medical certificate.
makes a LOT of sense. So I'm happy that the news I'm about to give her isn't "remember that time you were caught with half a gram of the stuff? Yeah you can't even fly UAVs now"

Again, thank you
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
No, thank you so much!!!! It really brightened the way for her. I'll be calling her tonight and I'm glad to have somewhat good news. Because this

makes a LOT of sense. So I'm happy that the news I'm about to give her isn't "remember that time you were caught with half a gram of the stuff? Yeah you can't even fly UAVs now"

Again, thank you
Hopefully it works out. The problem with generalized information is that there are case-specific exceptions.
 
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