Unlawful Killing and Possession of Alligators

Florida alligators are essential predators in the Florida wildlife ecosystem. When an individual unlawfully kills or possesses an alligator in Florida, they can disrupt the natural order and face severe consequences. However, there are instances where an individual may have accidentally killed or held possession of an alligator for their safety, or even without realizing the severity of their actions. 

If you are suffering serious penalties for unlawfully killing or possessing an alligator, contact the Umansky Law Firm and talk with an experienced FWC violation lawyer. With their extensive knowledge and resources, they will be able to help assist and guide you through the legal process. When you have someone dependable on your side, you can trust that your rights and intentions are protected. 

Are You Ever Able to Hunt Alligators in Florida?

Unless you have specific permission, killing or injuring an alligator is a third-degree felony. The Florida law requires individuals to obtain a license or permit to kill wild alligators. However, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) must deem the alligators a nuisance. The person must apply to the Statewide Alligator Harvest Program, which delegates specific timeframes and areas where permit holders can hunt.

In 1988, Florida established alligator hunting to control the exponential population growth and the overabundance of predators in Florida waters. While they were on the endangered animals list for a time, their population continues to increase by the day. This is why Florida designates time and licenses to those responsible individuals that help control the population. The season where those with licenses can hunt alligators falls between August 15th and November 1st of each year. 

To make sure not too many individuals are hunting alligators, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) and the state only allow 5,000 permits each year. Hunters can scout areas during the day without weapons but can only hunt between 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. These documents allow the holder to hunt two alligators per season.

What Are the Penalties for Unlawfully Killing and Possessing Alligators?

The harshness of the consequences and punishments an individual may face depends on the severity of the crime. From the weapons used to the number of animals harmed, many factors contribute to the overall decision on the penalties a person can face. Below are a few examples of punishments you may receive if convicted of unlawfully killing or possessing alligators:

  • Expensive fines
  • Probation or incarceration
  • Loss of hunting privileges and licenses
  • Confiscation of weapons or equipment used to kill or possess any alligators

If you are in a position where you face any of the above penalties due to charges of unlawfully killing and possessing alligators, seek assistance from a dependable legal representative as soon as possible. They will be able to help you gather the information and documentation you need to reduce the likelihood of suffering those penalties. 

3 Defense Strategies for Unlawfully Killing or Possessing Alligators

While it is illegal to possess or kill an alligator, some unavoidable circumstances may assist with your case. Talking with a legal representative about your case and determining your best defense strategy can help prepare you for your claim. The following are a few examples of strategies that may assist with your defense:

Dangerous Situation

Alligators are wild animals that hunt prey, and while attacks or dangerous situations are uncommon, they still happen every so often. If you are in a position where you or someone else can suffer severe injuries or even death by an alligator, you are by all means able to defend yourself and anyone else in danger. 

Unaware of the Laws

Not everyone is familiar with the Florida law and FWC’s protections on alligators. While you can still face some consequences of harming or possessing an alligator, if you accidentally kill or possess one without fully understanding the laws, you may be able to seek less harsh penalties and more educational options. 

Accidental Killing or Possession

If you unknowingly kill or possess an alligator and can prove that you had no knowledge of harming or keeping the creature, you may be able to seek less severe consequences. Whether you were hunting another animal or an alligator unknowingly crept onto your property, showing video or physical evidence can help you with your case. 

Discuss the above options with your FWC violation attorney to learn more about what types of information and documents can work as evidence for your case. Having someone you can trust on your side to give you advice is essential in an FWC violation case. 

Discover an Experienced FWC Violation Attorney in Florida Today 

When you work with our team at the Umansky Law Firm, you can feel confident in your legal representation’s ability to protect your rights and interests. We have years of experience advising and offering legal services to countless residents across Florida. As individuals dedicated to serving our communities, we offer clients the resources and information they need to have the best possible outcome for their case. 

Call (407) 228-3838 or fill out our contact form for more information about our services and how we can help you.