Many people who are taking commercial flights believe that their pilots are professionals committed to being completely capable of operating large aircraft, so there is rarely much concern about a pilot possibly being under the influence of alcohol. The truth is that recreational flying in Texas is just as common as commercial flights, and some people who are accused of flying while intoxicated (also known as FWI) will want to be sure they hire an experienced Fort Worth flying while intoxicated attorney.

An alleged flying while intoxicated case will involve many of the same considerations as the traditional driving while intoxicated (DWI) case, so people should understand that many of the same defenses against these charges could also be applicable. Pilots generally cannot be stopped mid-flight to be tested for alcohol consumption, so these arrests may occur before a pilot boards a plane or shortly after departing and the timing of the tests can be important.

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Flying While Intoxicated Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and Southlake, TX

Were you recently arrested for an alleged flying while intoxicated offense? Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (817) 422-5350 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, TX area.

The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy regularly handles DWI cases, so we are very familiar with helping people overcome all kinds of alleged intoxication cases, including individuals who are facing such charges relating to flying. Contact us online for a consultation so we can really dig into the details of your case and gain a fuller understanding of exactly what challenges you may be facing.

Flying While Intoxicated Charges in Texas 

Texas Penal Code § 49.05 establishes that a person commits a flying while intoxicated offense if they are intoxicated while operating an aircraft. This crime is typically a Class B misdemeanor, but Texas Penal Code § 49.09 states that an offense becomes a Class A misdemeanor if the alleged offender has been previously convicted of a crime relating to operating either a motor vehicle while intoxicated, an aircraft while intoxicated, a watercraft while intoxicated, or operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated.

A flying while intoxicated offense becomes a third-degree felony if the alleged offender has been previously convicted one time of an offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.08 relating to intoxication manslaughter or an offense under the laws of another state when the crime contains elements substantially similar to the elements of an offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.08, or two times of any other offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, an aircraft while intoxicated, a watercraft while intoxicated, or operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated.

An offense relating to operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated is defined as an offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.04 (DWI) or Texas Penal Code § 49.045 (DWI with child passenger), an offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.07 (intoxication assault) or Texas Penal Code § 49.08 (intoxication manslaughter) when the vehicle operated was a motor vehicle, an offense under Article 6701l-1, Revised Statutes, as that law existed before September 1, 1994, an offense under Article 6701l-2, Revised Statutes, as that law existed before January 1, 1984, an offense under Texas Penal Code § 19.05(a)(2), as that law existed before September 1, 1994, if the vehicle operated was a motor vehicle or an offense under the laws of another state that prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

The offense of operating an aircraft while intoxicated means an offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.05, an offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.07 or Texas Penal Code § 49.08 when the vehicle operated was an aircraft, an offense under Section 1, Chapter 46, Acts of the 58th Legislature, Regular Session, 1963 (Article 46f-3, Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes), as that law existed before September 1, 1994, an offense under Texas Penal Code § 19.05(a)(2), as that law existed before September 1, 1994, if the vehicle operated was an aircraft or an offense under the laws of another state that prohibit the operation of an aircraft while intoxicated.

The offense of operating a watercraft while intoxicated means an offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.06 (boating while intoxicated), an offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.07 or Texas Penal Code § 49.08 when the vehicle operated was a watercraft, an offense under Section 31.097, Parks and Wildlife Code, as that law existed before September 1, 1994, an offense under Texas Penal Code § 19.05(a)(2), as that law existed before September 1, 1994, if the vehicle operated was a watercraft or an offense under the laws of another state that prohibit the operation of a watercraft while intoxicated. The offense of operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated means an offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.065, an offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.07 or Texas Penal Code § 49.08 when the offense involved the operation or assembly of an amusement ride, or an offense under the law of another state that prohibits the operation of an amusement ride while intoxicated or the assembly of a mobile amusement ride while intoxicated.

Flying While Intoxicated Penalties in Tarrant County

Flying while intoxicated crimes carry different penalties depending on how your alleged crime is classified. The possible sentences may include:

  • Class B Misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000 
  • Class A Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000 
  • Third-Degree Felony — Up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
 

Airports Closest to Fort Worth, Texas

There are several airports in the greater Fort Worth area. Some of the major airports in and around Tarrant County include:

  • Arlington Municipal Airport (GKY) — Arlington Municipal Airport identifies as being a general aviation reliever airport (an airport that is built or designated to provide relief or additional capacity to an area when the primary commercial airport needs additional capacity), providing corporate, cargo, and recreational pilots a convenient, full-service destination. Located immediately south of Interstate 20, there are 14 businesses and one flight testing facility based at the airport. Arlington Municipal manages 56 T-hangars.
  • Kenneth Copeland Airport (4T2) — Kenneth Copeland Airport is 18 miles northwest of Fort Worth. The airport only has one runway. 
  • Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) — DFW Airport is the primary international airport serving the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex and North Texas. It is the second-busiest airport by passenger traffic and the third-busiest airport in the world by aircraft movements. DFW is the second-largest airport by land area in the United States and has its own post office ZIP code. It offers service to 260 destinations from 28 scheduled airlines. DFW is identified as being its own city but is located in the cities of Irving, Euless, Grapevine, and Coppell, between Dallas and Fort Worth.
  • Fort Worth Alliance Airport (AFW) — Fort Worth Alliance Airport is 14 miles north of Fort Worth and is the second-largest airport facility in North Texas behind only DFW. The airport focuses largely on cargo operations, serving as a southern regional hub for FedEx Express and a focus city for Amazon Air, but provides no major commercial passenger airline service although it does have general aviation services. Fort Worth Alliance Airport has two runways and had 112,326 aircraft operations, averaging 308 per day including 75 percent general aviation, 7 percent air carrier, 13 percent military, and 5 percent air taxi. There were 22 aircraft based at this airport, including one single-engine, five multi-engine, eight jets, and eight helicopters.
  • Fort Worth Meacham International Airport (FTW) — Fort Worth Meacham International Airport (also known as Meacham Field) is a general aviation airport located near the intersection of Interstate 820 and Business United States Highway 287 in Fort Worth. Meacham is currently used for general aviation purposes, although several companies operate aircraft services at the airport. It has three runways and two helipads.
  • Fort Worth Spinks Airport (FWS) — Fort Worth Spinks Airport is a public-use airport located 14 miles south of Fort Worth. The airport had 82,948 aircraft operations, an average of 227 per day with 99.4 percent being general aviation, 0.4 percent air taxi, and 0.3 percent military. There were 199 aircraft based at the airport, including 78 percent single-engine, 18 percent multi-engine, 3 percent jet, and 1 percent helicopter.
  • Hicks Airfield (T67) — Hicks Airfield is a public use airport located 14 miles northwest of Fort Worth. It has one runway and the airport had 31,000 general aviation aircraft operations, an average of 84 per day. There were 327 aircraft based at this airport including 92 percent single-engine, 6 percent multi-engine, 1 percent helicopter, and 1 percent ultralight.
  • Sycamore Strip Airport (9F9) — Sycamore Strip Airport is a public airport located eight miles southwest of Fort Worth. The airport has one runway, and is used solely for general aviation purposes including aircraft rental and flight school. It has a flight school, aircraft rental, and maintenance services.
 

Fort Worth Flying While Intoxicated Resources

Alcohol and Flying Brochure | Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) — View FAA literature discussing the effects of alcohol on pilots. It states that the number of serious errors committed 

by pilots dramatically increases at or above concentrations of 0.04 percent blood alcohol, but some studies have shown decrements in pilot performance with blood alcohol concentrations as low as 0.025 percent. Find many general recommendations.

Drug and Alcohol Testing Program | Federal Register — This rule amends the FAA’s drug and alcohol regulations to place them in a new part. It is intended to reorganize the requirements for drug and alcohol testing into a single part and also clarify the rules by replacing references to appendices I and J with references to part 120. It relates to refusal to submit to a drug or alcohol test by a part 61 certificate holder, refusal to submit to a drug or alcohol test by a part 63 certificate holder, refusal to submit to a drug or alcohol test by a part 65 certificate holder, use of prohibited drugs, misuse of alcohol, testing for alcohol, and testing for prohibited drugs.

Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for Flying While Intoxicated Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

If you were arrested for flying while intoxicated in Tarrant County, you cannot afford to delay in seeking legal representation. Make sure you find yourself a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (817) 422-5350 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, TX area.

The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy understands the most effective ways to fight these cases, and we will be able to work to help you achieve the most favorable outcome for your case.

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