Since the terrorist attacks of 2001, air travel in the United States has changed dramatically due to heightened security concerns. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now screen passengers and carry-on bags for weapons and other prohibited items. These "zero tolerance" policies — including the searches of babies and senior citizens — inconvenience everyone.
But TSA agents discovered 2,653 guns at U.S. airports in 2015, with 83 percent of them loaded. A total of 50 guns were found at Orlando International Airport (MCO), which is located at 1 Jeff Fuqua Blvd., Orlando, FL 32827, and served more than 38.8 million passengers and is the 13th-busiest airport in the U.S. and 29th-busiest in the world. No other airport in Florida had more guns confiscated than MCO in 2015.
Travelers were also arrested at the smaller Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB), which is located at 1 Air Terminal Parkway, Melbourne, FL 32901, for a variety of criminal offenses. MLB handled about 444,844 passengers in 2014, with one gun discovered. No guns were discovered at MLB in 2015, the TSA reported.
In addition, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), working with other federal, state, and local agencies, including the Airport Division of the Orlando Police Department and the Melbourne Airport Police, a state-certified agency, continue interdiction efforts to find smuggled drugs, such as cocaine and marijuana.
Counterfeit U.S. currency is also a common discovery in carry-on bags at airports, as are other weapons besides guns. Other airport arrests occur for theft, alcohol-related crimes, and many other illegal incidents.
If you were arrested at Orlando International Airport (MCO) in Orlando, FL, or the Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB) in Melbourne, FL then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your case. In some misdemeanor cases, a law enforcement officer may issue a notice to appear in court and release an alleged offender instead of making a formal arrest, but either way, a defendant must answer the charges.
You may face misdemeanor or felony charges, which could result in a jail or prison sentence, as well as expensive fines. A knowledgeable attorney may be the difference-maker as you encounter Florida's legal justice system.
No matter if you are a local resident or a person who was passing through the area, Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC offers qualified representation for defendants after an airport arrest in Orlando or Melbourne, FL. Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC aggressively fights to achieve the most favorable outcome in any airport arrest case for residents of Melbourne, Palm Bay, Titusville, Florida's Space Coast, Brevard County, Orange County, and the millions of visitors to Central Florida who live in other states or countries.
The skilled lawyers at Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC work to resolve airport arrest cases as quickly as possible, because we understand the tremendous inconvenience of multiple court appearances, especially for clients who do not live in Central Florida.
Call Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC today at (321) 253-3447 to schedule a free, no-obligation appointment to discuss your airport arrest case with one of our committed attorneys.
Airports are among the most secure places in the United States. TSA agents, police, and other security officers are trained to watch for suspicious activity, accompanied by a phalanx of video cameras and other high-tech gadgets. Nonetheless, a wide range of airport crimes occurs. Some of these crimes are more prevalent at airports, but many of them are common almost everywhere.
The nearest major airport to Brevard County is Orlando International Airport (MCO), about an hour's drive by car — more or less — for most county residents. As one of the busiest airports in the U.S., MCO averages more than 100,000 passengers every day. Some of them are arrested for any number of crimes, including:
An airport arrest may result in misdemeanor or felony charges. Depending on the severity of the alleged offense, the arresting officer may take a suspect into custody or issue a Notice to Appear without taking a suspect into immediate custody.
In addition to gun and weapon crimes, drug crimes are another way for a traveler to be grounded at the airport. The smuggling of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other recreational drugs, as well as other controlled substances, is targeted by law enforcement. But people sometimes travel with small amounts of contraband that is discovered by law enforcement.
A small amount of illegal drugs discovered at an airport can lead to serious charges, even if the drugs were meant for personal use and no smuggling was intended. Marijuana laws are changing in many parts of the U.S., but possession of marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and in most Florida jurisdictions, including Orange County, where MCO is located, and in Brevard County, where MLB is located.
An airport arrest may occur due to a mistake while packing for a trip, but TSA agents are unlikely to accept any excuse.
Florida is among only six states that have declared an entire airport terminal is a "sensitive place" where guns and weapons may be restricted, a ruling supported by the U.S. Supreme Court in D.C. v. Heller (554 U.S. 570 ). Heller decreed that although citizens have the right to carry weapons in case of confrontation, that right may be restricted in "sensitive places," such as airports.
The Florida Statutes, Title XLVI, Chapter 790 § 790.06(12)(a)(14) provide that a concealed weapon license "does not authorize any person to openly carry a handgun or carry a concealed weapon or firearm into the inside of the passenger terminal and sterile area of any airport."
An exception is that "no person shall be prohibited from carrying any legal firearm into the terminal, which firearm is encased for shipment for purposes of checking such firearm as baggage to be lawfully transported on any aircraft."
Translation: Unloaded guns are allowed on commercial airplanes in checked baggage (if the carrier is notified), but guns are not allowed in the terminal or in carry-on baggage, even when unloaded. (Moving from the curb to the check-in counter must be done directly.) Any gun or weapon in a carry-on bag or on a passenger's person is strictly illegal.
Travelers may only transport unloaded firearms in locked, hard-sided containers as checked baggage, completely secured from access by a lock (for which only the passenger holds the key).
Flares and gunpowder (including black powder and percussion caps) are prohibited by the TSA on commercial flights, but certain other types of guns may be checked and transported (if all the rules are followed), including:
Depending on the specific criminal charge, an airport arrest may not lead directly to jail. In certain misdemeanor cases or other lesser crimes, the arresting officer is not required to make a formal arrest, but may issue a Notice to Appear.
A person who is issued a Notice to Appear may be able to continue with his or her travels, but is required to appear to answer the charges at the appointed date. Anyone who misses a court date after issued a Notice to Appear is in contempt of court and an arrest warrant may be issued, with the provision of no bond until an appearance is made.
A local attorney can be of great assistance in these types of cases by helping to minimize court appearances, especially if a client is from out of town.
Florida Statutes, Title XLVI, Chapter 790, § 790.06 — Read about the exceptions to Florida's "conceal carry" law, including how the law is applied at Florida airports (F.S. § 790.06(12)(a)).
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) — Security Screening — The TSA website contains important information for air travelers, as well as details about transporting firearms and ammunition by air.
If you were arrested at Orlando International Airport or any airport in Central Florida, you should seek the advice of a local attorney experienced in defending people against airport crimes.
The dedicated attorneys at Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC are prepared to represent you and aggressively defend you. We may be able to introduce evidence that results in a dismissal of charges or negotiate a reduction in charges with the prosecutor. We will also prepare to take a case to trial, if necessary.
At Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC, we represent people along Florida's Space Coast, including the Brevard County communities of Melbourne, Palm Bay, Titusville, Cocoa, and Rockledge, as well as Orange, Osceola, Indian River, and Volusia counties. We always work for the best possible results, and we will challenge the evidence, or the arrest itself.
After an arrest at Orlando International Airport in Orange County, FL, or Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, FL, call our attorneys at (321) 253-3447 to schedule a free consultation.