South Florida has three major airports - Miami International Airport (MIA); Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL); and Palm Beach International (PBI).
You may be a South Florida resident leaving on a trip or a visitor coming into Miami, Palm Beach, or Fort Lauderdale.
Either way, the state of air travel in the United States is poor these days, with flight cancellations becoming the norm. Air travel, by itself, is already a stressful situation. Add into the mix a cancelled flight, a delayed connection, or some hiccup that makes an already unpleasant situation even worse. And if you've been drinking at a bar in the terminal, that can only escalate things.
It pays to be calm and collected at the airport, even if you are being subjected to horrific customer service by the gate agents or airline representatives.
An outburst, with the slightest tinge of alcohol on your breath, can easily become a disorderly intoxication charge.
A shove or push toward an airport employee is a battery, and if you fight with or struggle against the police (all airports have police officers assigned), you can find yourself facing felony charges.
Even without a cancellation or travel headache, if you've consumed too much alcohol, the airline will not let you board. They will schedule you on the next flight.
First and foremost, try not to drink to excess in an airport. But if you do, don't yell or fight even if they won't let you board. It's not a crime to be intoxicated at an airport, it's a crime to create a dangerous or disorderly scene while intoxicated (yelling and causing a crowd to form).
A vacation or business trip can easily turn into a nightmare if you let your emotions and a few cocktails go to your head.
You can end up spending a night in jail and missing your trip altogether. What's even worse is that if you are traveling for business, you will miss your business trip. And how are you going to explain that to your boss?
If you are arrested at a South Florida airport, please contact me to discuss your options. If you do not live in South Florida, being represented by a criminal defense attorney may prevent you from needing to return to Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or Palm Beach to attend Court.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami, Broward (Fort Lauderdale), and Palm Beach.