Articles Tagged with TSA

We are preparing for summer holiday travel by familiarizing ourselves with the security process for clearing airport checkpoints. In our last post we examined property or personal belongings searches. In this post we will spotlight body searches.

Can I Refuse a Body Screen?

Most airports have full-body scanners that use millimeter waves, MMW, to screen the body for contraband. Here, a prohibited item would be a cigarette lighter. If the scan identifies a cigarette lighter in your pocket, you will be asked to discard it to clear the body search portion of the scan. If the TSO cannot identify the item, he or she will refer you to an enhanced pat-down search.

When an enhanced pat-down search is ordered, the passenger may request the search be performed by a specific gendered TSO. A passenger may also request that instead of a full-body scan using MMW, an enhanced pat-down be performed and choose the gender of the TSO.  

There are many reasons people refuse a full-body scan that have nothing to do with carrying prohibited items or contraband. A person with a pacemaker cannot withstand the body scan. An individual with a concern about receiving radiation may refuse to provide MMW screening.

If the item detected in the full-body scan is contraband, like cocaine pellets in the passenger’s stomach, the passenger will be detained and referred to law enforcement for criminal investigation and arrest.

You May Request a Private Screening

A private screening means that an enhanced pat-down is conducted out of public view. The passenger may request a travel companion be present and the gender of the TSO. Again, passengers in these scenarios seek privacy and wish to protect it.

You do Not Have to Disrobe

During a TSA search, you will not be asked to disrobe or reveal a private area of your body. A cavity search can only be done by law enforcement personnel, not the TSA. Accommodations for religious clothing, like a hijab or turbans, may be requested and granted.

Be Respectful

The TSOs are screening thousands of passengers. Everyone’s clock is ticking. If any of your rights are violated during your airport screening, remind the TSO that it is your right to request an accommodation to the process. For more information on banned items you cannot carry onto an airplane, visit the TSA website or click here.

People Get Arrested at Airports All the Time

If you are in possession of contraband at an airport, you will be referred to law enforcement for an immediate arrest. If you or someone you know is charged with a crime in San Diego, contact a qualified San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney who can help mitigate penalties today and explain your legal rights and responsibilities. Available 24/7, the Boertje Law Firm represents clients at any stage of the criminal case and for any crime charged. Continue reading

Before you board a commercial flight anywhere in the world, you will need to go through airport security. In the United States, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) is responsible for clearing airline passengers to fly.

The uniformed people at the airport security entrance are called Transportation Security Officers (TSOs). They are responsible for verifying that your identity matches the name on your airline ticket, inspecting and searching of your carry-on and personal items for prohibited materials, and searching your body for any contraband or prohibited items. Keep the following tips in mind this travel season to help you clear an airport checkpoint quickly.

Understanding the Search Process

What exactly is supposed to be going on when you place your bag and personal belongings on the conveyor belt? The TSA can only conduct an administrative search of your person and belongings. If they identify a prohibited item, like a shampoo bottle over 8 ounces, they advise you that in order to board the plane you must get rid of it. Once you discard the offending object, you complete the search process and may proceed to the airline boarding area.

A criminal search, on the other hand, can only be conducted by the police or law enforcement personnel such as the FBI or the Los Angeles Police Department. If, during an administrative search, a firearm is detected, for example, you will he held, and law enforcement called to investigate you and your belongings. Under most circumstances, you may be charged with illegal possession of a firearm, even if your state of residence permits you to carry one..

Be Prepared to Backup Accommodation Requests

You may be asked to demonstrate service animal credentialing for your dog to board with you. Similarly, individuals with pacemakers often travel with a doctor’s note, advising TSOs that the individual has a pacemaker and cannot undergo a security screen.

Accommodation Devices are Also Searched

Individuals traveling with wheelchairs, canes, or crutches, for example, will also have their accommodation devices screened and searched if contraband or prohibited items are detected. Even your eyeglasses can be inspected further. Any item or thing on your person can be evaluated.

Be Courteous

There is a lot going on at an airport security checkpoint. Be alert. Follow directions. Ask for clarification if confused. For a list of items you can carry onto an airplane, visit the TSA website or click here.

Large Airports Contain a Jail or Detention Facility

Large airports, like JFK in New York and LAX in Los Angeles, contain holding pens for people arrested for criminal conduct or behavior. You will most definitely miss your flight if you are detained in this way. If you are arrested an airport and charged with a crime in San Diego, contact a qualified San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney who can help mitigate penalties today and explain your legal rights and responsibilities. Available 24/7, the Boertje Law Firm represents clients at any stage of the criminal case and for any crime charged. Continue reading