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Fort Myers Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / Criminal Defense / Are Offenses at Florida Airports Automatically Federal Crimes?

Are Offenses at Florida Airports Automatically Federal Crimes?


As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Florida is home to numerous busy airports. Anyone who has traveled by plane will tell you that airports can be some of the most stressful locations on the planet. Long lines, intrusive security protocols, and endless delays can all cause people to act out. If you lost your patience at a Florida airport and you were subsequently charged with some kind of criminal offense, you might be wondering if you will automatically face federal charges in Florida. But is this really true?

Are Florida Airports Under Federal Jurisdiction? 

Unlike many other countries, airports in the United States are owned and operated by State authorities – not the federal government. That being said, federal agencies are responsible for overseeing airports, and the most obvious examples include the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Most crimes at airports are prosecuted under State law in Florida, and committing an offense on airport premises does not automatically lead to federal charges. That being said, there are specific airport-related crimes that do lead to federal charges. In most cases, federal crimes involve interfering with or affecting federal agencies that operate in airports – such as the TSA and FAA.

In fact, it is possible to commit some of the most heinous aviation crimes imaginable and still only face consequences in State courts. On February 29th of 2024, it was reported that a man in Fort Myers had attempted to steal a plane from an airport in Fort Myers. He subsequently crashed the airplane into a pole and was taken into custody. Although he faced numerous charges under Florida law, there was no mention of federal charges.

Violence at International Airports 

Perhaps one of the most common federal airport crimes is “violence at international airports.” Title 18 U.S. Code 37 states that if you use a device, substance, or weapon to commit an act of violence in an international airport, you could face up to 20 years in prison. Keep in mind that in the context of US law, a “weapon” can be defined in many different ways. Although most people may assume that this refers only to a firearm, it could also be virtually any inanimate object. This might be a traffic cone, a piece of wood, or anything else capable of causing serious injuries.

Find a Qualified Federal Crime Defense Lawyer in Fort Myers 

If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced criminal defense lawyer in Fort Myers, look no further than Foley & Wilson. We have extensive experience with federal defense, and we can guide you toward positive outcomes after even the most serious airport incidents. While the federal government may justify its draconian airport policies in various ways, there is no need to face excessive penalties for an airport-related incident. Book your consultation today to approach your charges with confidence.




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