FIGHTING AIRPORT CASH SEIZURES BY TSA
A Tampa couple was recently profiled on wfla.com in a harrowing story of airport law enforcement overstepping their authority and infringing upon the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. The traveling duo, who were in lawful possession of a sizeable amount of cash while on their way back home to Tampa, had their money seized and confiscated at the airport despite having a legitimate explanation.
It should not surprise many travelers that taking cash onto a commercial airplane is perfectly legal. It may seem strange to some in the modern era of paying with plastic, but many people in the United States travel with cash for work purposes, for vacation, or to lawfully gamble. There are exceptions, however, if you are traveling outside the country or returning to the United States from overseas – for instance you must fill out a form if you have over $10,000 in cash.
What may surprise many though is that if TSA does in fact find a “large” amount of cash in your luggage, personal belongings, or pockets, you are certain to be detained and questioned:
* You will be called out of line, taken to a private room and interviewed by law enforcement officers.
* You will be questioned about the source of the cash and the reason for carrying the cash.
* If you refuse to answer or if the law enforcement officer does not believe your story, the cash will be seized.
* You will more than likely miss your flight because of the time it will take for the law enforcement officer to complete the questioning, count the money and decide whether to seize your money.
* In most cases, the money is seized instantly. Rarely are individuals immediately arrested and usually, the individuals are not ever even charged with a crime.
You Must Fight to Get Your Money Returned
Sadly, law-abiding citizens must expend a lot of time, energy, and expense in trying to convince the law enforcement to return the money seized. The amount of cash that is “large” enough to result in an airport seizure is not subject to any legal minimum standard and the threshold amount is often based upon the discretion of the TSA employee and law enforcement officers called in to investigate the matter. To add to the frustration, a person who contests the seizure and has the money returned is generally not entitled to recover attorney’s fees, interest, or damages caused by being deprived of the money.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer
Since 1976 The Matassini Law Firm has been protecting the constitutional rights of those in the Tampa Bay area from unlawful infringement by law enforcement. Contact us at www.matassinilaw,com for a confidential, free consultation.