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What are my constitutional and civil rights when dealing with TSA agents? Am I obligated to answer question such as my age?

Miami, FL |

I know with police there are certain right you have such as refusing search of your car without probable cause or refusing to answer questions which could be used to incriminate yourself. However there are certain things you are required to do such as show driving credentials while operating a car.

Are there certain defined rights that I have with dealing with the TSA like when dealing with the police? I have had problem with TSA agents asking for my age which I believe has nothing to do with security of the plane rather to try to embarrass me because I have a younger wife.

I usually tell them what my driver license said but they demand to know my age by number. Am I required to tell them my age( apparently telling them my date-of-birth is not good enough for them) ?


I am trying to figure out if the actual age is required vs only date-of-birth. I found the following information which would seem to suggest that only date-of-birth is required. Federal Regulations. Here is the applicable section: 49 C.F.R. § 1540.107 Submission to screening and inspection. (a) No individual may enter a sterile area or board an aircraft without submitting to the screening and inspection of his or her person and accessible property in accordance with the procedures being applied to control access to that area or aircraft under this subchapter. (b) An individual must provide his or her full name, as defined in §1560.3 of this chapter, date of birth, and gender.

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Attorney answers 4


Generally you must cooperate with TSA agents. Courts have routinely held that things like age or other biographical data are non-testimonial and therefore do not involve a person's right to remain silent under most circumstances. Unfortunately many people have had negative experiences with TSA agents but that has not resulted in any major change in their conduct yet. Because a person does not have to go on a plane and can choose to travel some other way. Generally a person has fewer rights while traveling than while going about their business in public.

This is not to be considered legal advice nor does an attorney-client relationship exist.


Constitutional and Civil rights are essentially the same thing. You have the same as we all can clearly see them being applied equally, can't you? The bottom line is that the law is full of words like "reasonable" which are subjective. Any applied objective meaning comes from findings made in specific fact scenarios which, in the aggregate, are what is called case law. The case law says that even civil rights are subject to some level of reasonable regulation. What is reasonable, and what is regulation, are often up for argument.

Don't confuse your rights! Your right (noun) to have to provide only what is lawfully required and your actually being right (adjective) does not mean that you won't be harassed in some way. You are dealing with relatively new but sprawling governmental agencies who employ common denominator workers whom are expected to live and work by the codes and ethics the agency heads request. It doesn't always work smoothly. New case law is always being created on subjects such as this. You may be technically correct - they should have to do the math. But, they will be practically correct when they claim they asked you for the age value in order to see whether or not you did the math, which they do as a security measure (it is common for people with fake ID's to not have an off-the-cuff response to such a question).

Instead of feeling persecuted, feel flattered that your young wife instills such obvious envy in the eyes of the screeners and state your age with pride. Being party to a case over such a small point is not for everybody, so challenge these sorts of details with caution. However, if you feel passionately about it and are willing to endure the sacrifice of a long expensive litigation against the government in a federal court, then go for it! Good luck.

The above is provided for educational purposes only and is not legal advice nor makes you a client of the Mosca Law Firm, PA. Please consult with a lawyer in order to obtain confidential legal advice that is tailored to your specific situation and facts.


TSA agents are generally given more leeway in dealing with airline passengers than police are with citizens in an everyday encounter.

Disclaimer: No attorney client privilege is established by receiving an answer to your question on Avvo. This answer is provided for informational purposes only. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to visit my Avvo profile or website -- -- to set up an appointment to talk more about your issue. As required by Rule 7.2(e), Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct, no representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.


Obligated? No.

TSA then could remove you from your flight.

You decide, on balance, whether you'd rather stand on your rights or travel.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. His answers to any Avvo question are rooted in general legal principles--NOT your specific state laws. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.

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