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DWI Defense

DWIs and Hot Air Balloons

DWI charges are often only discussed in the context of motor vehicles. Many people fail to consider that DWI charges also play a role in various other vehicular incidents.

For example, DWI might have recently played a role in a catastrophic hot air balloon accident that occurred just west of Lockhart, Texas and left 16 people dead. Law enforcement later determined that the hot air balloon’s operator had a record of arrests for driving while intoxicated and driving while under the influence of drugs. The balloon’s operator pleaded guilty to DWI misdemeanors in 2000 and 2002. Later, the operator was on parole when arrested for a DWI in 2007 and went back to jail for 21 months.

Existing Federal Laws Regarding Hot Air Balloon DWIs

Several federal agencies have commented upon the various laws surrounding the hot air balloon accident that occurred. One agency, the National Transportation Safety Board, is currently investigating the case to determine whether pilot error was involved.

The Federal Aviation Administration has also commented on the incident by noting that all hot air balloon pilots must report DWI offenses within 60 days. As a result of reporting a DWI offense, pilots can face either license suspension or revocation. Federal Aviation Administration restrictions, however, do not require that hot air balloon operators submit a medical certificate in the way that airline pilots must do. As a result, hot air balloon pilots with a history of alcoholism are not required to report to the Federal Aviation Administration anything about this illness when the individual is applying for a hot air balloon pilot’s license. The requirements for the balloon certificate also do not include alcohol offenses involving a motor vehicle because these events are also covered by the Federal Aviation Administration’s medical application, which hot air balloon pilots are not required to submit. Instead, pilots who are applying to fly a hot air balloon must only complete a form that asks whether the candidate has ever been convicted of a narcotics drug charge.

Other Types of Non Motor Vehicle DWIs

In addition to hot air balloons, DWIs have occurred in several cases involving vehicle operators who were not driving motor vehicles. A person can be charged with DWI while driving a lawn mower, riding a bicycle, or even driving a go-kart. Individuals who decide to operate any sort of motor vehicle should be aware of the potential charges that exist for driving while intoxicated.

No matter what vehicle an individual is driving when a DWI charge is made, it is essential that individuals in this position retain experienced legal counsel. At The Wilder DWI Defense Firm our DWI defense team offers clients a free case evaluation in addition to helping clients understand the details of a charge and what the client’s rights are. Our firm has a long track record of successfully defending individuals who face DWI charges. Do not hesitate to contact our firm today.

(image courtesy of Pam Jacobsen)