Getting arrested is usually a harrowing experience. The embarrassment and potential legal problems all hit the accused square in the face.
Things are even worse when the arrest takes place in an airport. Added to the usual problems are a host of possible uncertainties. Here are some of the unknowns that can make an airport arrest so disturbing. After reading this article, it will be clear why anyone detained in the vicinity of an air travel terminal will want to speak to a criminal lawyer for advice.
Who is in Charge?
In legal terms, jurisdiction refers to the power to enforce the law in a particular place. In general, someone arrested for a crime goes to the local jail. Prosecution of the defendant occurs in the corresponding city, state or federal court. Yet, in some airport arrest scenarios, things are not as clear as presented above.
Oftentimes, the largest city of a metropolitan area handles airport administration; meanwhile, the actual airport terminal is in a smaller, suburban community. Therefore, just who has jurisdiction is not readily apparent at times. Add to this confusion the presence of federal agencies and things are even murkier for the accused.
Is That Really a Cop?
Just because an airport employee wears a badge does not make them a police officer. Security guards abound in air terminals. Many guards are there to protect particular companies, not the airport in general. Meanwhile, there are officers who probably do have arrest powers. Being detained by a security officer does not equate to an actual arrest.
Aren't Intent and Probable Cause Required?
In most instances, a criminal charges require intent and probable cause. The accused must demonstrate some degree of forethought and suspicious activity to warrant arrest. In an airport, things are a bit different. The authorities cannot wait until a person displays a clear desire to do something wrong.
An airport is not a department store where an officer can watch via camera until a suspect leaves the premises with stolen items before pouncing. With so many lives possibly at stake, security officials are vigilant about keeping airports safe. Consequently, an arrest, detention or confiscation can occur based on the mere presence or belief in the possession of something potentially harmful or illegal.
Criminal procedure in an airport is confusing and best left to the experts. Anyone facing charges on an airport-related offense should probably contact a criminal defense attorney (like those at Cross, LaCross, & Murphy PLLC) for consultation. This specialist can sift through all the potential red tape to clarify the situation for the client.