Revocation or Denial of a Merchant Mariner Credential Because of a DUI


A Merchant Marine Credential (MMC) is a credential issued by the U.S. Coast Guard combining the elements of the merchant mariner’s document, merchant mariner’s license, and certificate of registry.

When determining whether to issue or renew a Merchant Marine Credential the Coast Guard may conduct a criminal record review and in certain circumstances consider whether the person’s driver’s license is suspended due to a DUI conviction.

Federal regulations state that no person who has ever been convicted of a DUI because of an addiction to, or abuse of, alcohol is eligible for an MMC unless the person furnishes proof of completion of an accredited alcohol rehabilitation program or active membership in a rehabilitation or counseling group.

Similar to the California punishment scheme for DUI’s, the federal regulations specify different time periods depending on the number of DUI convictions a person has. For example, after a person’s first DUI the regulations specify an assessment period of one year from the date of conviction. This means that a person will not be considered for an MMC until one year after his first DUI conviction.

Once three years have passed since the date of the conviction, the regulations state that an assessment period is not necessary unless suspension or revocation of the person’s driver’s license is still in effect. However, even though the assessment period has passed the Coast Guard still considers the conviction in assessing whether to grant or renew the MMC.

Because the assessment period continues while a license suspension is in effect, the policies and actions of the California Department of Motor Vehicles can have a direct and adverse effect on a person’s Merchant Marine Credential issued by the United States Coast Guard.

Moreover, the California Courts have held that the State can revoke a state pilot license issued by the Board of Pilot Commissioners notwithstanding the fact that the pilot was operating under a federally-issued license at the time of the disqualifying incident and state pilot licensing laws require possession of a federal license.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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