A shocking number of people are arrested at airports every year. That’s not only because they are major hubs for transporting illegal items and filled with tons of law enforcement personnel, but also because airports are subject to a complex tangle of federal and state laws. If you have been arrested at an airport in San Diego, a Peter M Liss can help you fight the charges.
Can You Fly With Marijuana in California?
Those arrested with illegal drugs or paraphernalia in their possession may face state or federal charges. Even marijuana is illegal to take past the TSA checkpoint in the airport since it is legal in California, but illegal federally (though you can take it into the airport as long as you do not take it through the checkpoint). It doesn’t matter if you are traveling to another state where marijuana is legal or even between two destinations within California since air transport and interstate travel is under the jurisdiction of the federal authorities. This also applies to medical marijuana since the drug is a Schedule 1 substance under federal law, meaning it is considered to have no medicinal benefits.
If you are arrested with drugs in your possession in the airport, do not attempt to defend yourself. You will almost certainly be arrested and what you say can absolutely be used against you. Instead, insist on having your drug defense attorney present before you answer any questions.
Weapons Charges at the Airport
Arrests for illegal weapon possession are particularly common at airports since even weapons that are ordinarily legal in California and the rest of the nation are illegal to bring through airport security. This can include knives, legally owned firearms, straight razors, ammunition, BB guns and more. If you are charged on the state level, you could face six months for a misdemeanor or much longer depending on the specific circumstances if the crime is charged as a felony.
Millions of dollars worth of drugs, animals, counterfeit goods, even people are smuggled into the U.S. every year, much of which goes through the airport, including private airports such as Montgomery-Gibbs, Gillespie Field and McClellan Palomar. These charges are usually under the jurisdiction of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, meaning they usually will be filed federally. If you have been accused of smuggling something in the airport, it is critical you contact a top defense lawyer as soon as possible as this is a very serious charge that can result in lengthy prison sentences.
Many people are arrested at the airport after a quick security check reveals a bench or arrest warrant for them. In many misdemeanor cases, the traveler may be given a warning and sent along his way after being detained for a short period, but in cases involving felony charges, arrests are a lot more common.
Other Common Crimes
People are frequently arrested for a number of other crimes at the airport as well. These may include use or possession of false ids or visas, assault of airline workers or other travelers, being drunk in public, disorderly conduct and more.
While courts allow law enforcement officials at the airport more leeway in performing searches in the name of national security, your Fourth Amendment rights still apply. Your attorney may be able to fight charges related to airport crimes on the grounds that the defendant’s rights were violated.