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Los Angeles Airport Defense Attorney

Arrested/cited at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)? Help is available.

George Kita has handled numerous airport criminal cases, & developed an intricate understanding of the process. His experience offers a unique opportunity to develop solutions.

He discusses proactive strategies, below. Common case scenarios are noted in this Business Journal article: Airport Arrests and Citations.

Los Angeles Airport Arrest Defense Attorney

Consequences from airport cases can be substantial, including loss of employment or state professional licenses/permits, jail, community service, & probation. Airport cases should always be handled by an attorney.

Call, now, at 213-400-5355, to learn more!

Common Airport Incidents

There are seven types of incidents which regularly result in citations, and/or arrests at local airports.

1. Drug Possession

Possession of drugs at the airport generally triggers a felony arrest. While drug charges can result in jail or prison sentences, there may be other alternatives available. It may be eligible for Drug Diversion, PC 1000, Prop 36, or other form of Drug Treatment.

2. Weapon Possession

Possession of a weapon at an airport security checkpoint can be a felony or misdemeanor. However, many of these cases are based on honest mistakes by people who have never been in trouble with the law. These cases are sometimes eligible for a court alternative or diversion program. Violations include possession of items such as, firearms, metal knuckles, unlawful knives, and batons.

3. Prohibited Item

Arrests and citations commonly result from possession of items listed in California Penal Code section 171.5(b), including, firearms/components, ammunition, knives, box cutters, razors, replica grenades, tear gas, Tasers/Stun Guns, and BB or replica guns. While these items may be lawful outside of the airport, possession at the airport, or in a "sterile area" of the airport, can create criminal liability.

A typical explanation for this type of violation is, “I didn’t realize I left it in my bag when I packed for this trip.” Despite a plausible explanation, airport police are generally called to investigate, resulting in an arrest, or citation requiring an appearance in criminal court. You can read a more thorough explanation about this subject at: Prohibited Items at the Airport.

4. Traffic Violation

Airport traffic violations have a way of evolving into something much more serious. Travelers are commonly rushed, stressed, and hurried as they arrive at the airport. Simple issues, such as parking in a "no stopping" zone can develop into a criminal charge of Penal Code section 148 (a)(1), resisting, delaying, or obstructing a peace officer.

In the highly-charged present day environment of the airport, police take an extreme “zero tolerance” approach to violations of the law. When a driver openly questions the wisdom of a law enforcement strategy during a traffic stop at the airport, a very low threshold is set for officers to "remove" the person, rather than allow the person to “vent.”

An arrest eliminates the immediate “problem,” but creates new ones for the arrestee. Having dealt with numerous cases of this sort as a prosecutor, I have found there may be creative solutions available.

5. Disturbing the Peace

This is a very common scenario at the airport. Anything from a disagreement at a ticket counter to a verbal dispute at a concession booth can result in police intervention. A verbal outburst coupled with consumption of alcohol has the strong likelihood of police intervention.

Airport authorities have a low tolerance for anything which might upset the orderly operation of the airport. If a verbal dispute has the potential to slow down curious passersby, police are apt to move the dispute to another location with an arrest.

6. False Report of Explosives

Penal Code section 148.1 prohibits false reports of an explosive device at an airport. Today, there is virtually a “zero tolerance” policy of this type of conduct. Even when it is readily apparent that a person’s statement lacks any credibility, an arrest will be made. Prosecutors have discretion to file misdemeanor or felony charges in these cases and convictions can result in jail, fines, and probation.

7. Bench Warrant

Airport officials use various criteria to screen for prospective problems. A bench warrant indicates to TSA and Airport Police that you pose a potential security risk. People with warrants are commonly arrested at the airport, & often at extremely inconvenient times (holidays, weekends, during travel for employment).

Airport warrant arrests are processed as criminal cases, with formal bookings, and ultimately a court appearance. Thus, it is strongly advisable to clear existing warrants (even relatively minor ones) well before your scheduled airport travel. You can learn more about this at: clearing your warrant.


Airport safety is serious business- anybody who walks through an airport today can see the incredible resources expended towards its security. That serious business continues in the criminal courtroom, where the stakes can be even higher.

You may have legal defenses, which could allow for a creative outcome in your case. This is why zealous legal representation in airport cases can be critical.

Call George Kita, today, and find out your options, at 213-400-5355!