Fish & Wildlife Violation Attorneys in St. Pete and Pinellas Park
Fish & Wildlife Violations
Wildlife Violations in Florida can be serious charges. They’re not meant to be taken lightly. Most attorneys don’t deal with wildlife or fishing violations every day. We do! The legal team at Oldham & Delcamp has plenty of experience with wildlife violations, and we’re ready to defend you! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need professional legal assistance.
Florida Fish & Wildlife Violations FAQ
Florida’s unique ecology is incredibly diverse, and that’s something Floridians can be proud of! That’s why careful management of our ecology is so vital to Florida.
We’ve put together a list of the most common questions we get asked about wildlife violations.
What Are Wildlife Violations?
Fish and Wildlife Violations come in many forms. From commercial saltwater fishing without a license, to littering, to failure to report marine turtle captures, the types of charges are as diverse as our beautiful environment. Some other saltwater fishing offenses include:
- Illegally taking Snook
- Illegally taking Redfish
- Illegally taking Yellowtail snapper
- Illegally taking undersized game fish
We need to be cautious of our cherished environment and obey both state and federal laws. Consider these ordinary circumstances, which could lead to charges:
- accidentally fishing with an expired license
- collecting rare species of butterflies for a hobby or school project
- owning giant reptiles (like problematic Burmese pythons currently running afoul in the Everglades)
Many different charges fall under the umbrella of “wildlife violations.” One doesn’t need to be catching our precious Florida panthers to get charged with a wildlife violation.
Steps to Take Immediately After Arrests or Charges of Wildlife Violations
Some fish & wildlife charges are minor, especially if this is your first arrest. Consider fishing without a license, for instance. If this is your first time, the penalty is simply a $50 fine and the purchase of a fishing license. Subsequent violations will cost you $50 more every time. Your second offense will cost you $100. Your third will cost $150, and so on.
More serious wildlife charges, like poaching or harassing our protected manatees, can lead to severe penalties. Currently, the conviction of this federal crime could cost you as much as $50,000 in fines and up to one year in prison.
If you’ve been charged with a serious wildlife violation:
- Exercise your right to remain silent. Don’t say anything other than your name, and ask to speak to a lawyer.
- Keep all of your paperwork and possible evidence together in a safe place.
- Don’t submit to searches without a warrant (though some international wildlife crimes could fall under international law (CITES). Game wardens may not need a warrant if they suspect you’re harboring illegal ivory or tiger skins, for instance)
- Reach out to us for a consultation.
Remember, it’s important to behave reasonably when dealing with law enforcement. Don’t ever act belligerent or get physical with arresting officers.
Do You Have a Good Wildlife Violations Case?
Since fish and game violations are so varied, the only real way to sort out your defense is to speak with an attorney. The prosecution of federal wildlife violations can be intense.
But, like many other types of crimes in Florida, sometimes a Prosecutor will accept a plea bargain or reduce the charges if you have a quality defense lawyer.
How Long Do Florida Fish & Wildlife Cases Take to Settle?
The simplest situations, like the invalid fishing licenses we discussed above, can be settled almost immediately when you pay the fine. More complex cases and serious charges can take much longer to resolve, ranging from a few months to a few years.
Avoiding Florida Fish & Wildlife Violations
If you have questions about hunting, fishing and ecology management, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee is a great place to start. Always double check your hunting, fishing and boating licenses before heading out for a relaxing day outdoors.
Conservation & Reporting to Avoid Wildlife Violations
If you need to report alligator kills, sick manatees, tagged fish, saltwater or freshwater fish kills, contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
How Will Wildlife Violations Affect Me in the Future?
Know that no wildlife charges will look appealing on your record. Federal crimes and serious felonies can have lasting effects on other aspects of your life, like your ability to own guns or even vote! That’s why it’s essential to get experienced, affordable help with Oldham & Delcamp. We’re experienced trial attorneys. Your defense is our job, and we’re ready to help you today.