Orlando Fish and Wildlife Violations Lawyer

florida nature violation defense attorney

Hunting and fishing is a common pastime for many Floridians. The Sunshine State is home to a variety of densely populated waterways and wooded areas. As such, it can be tempting for fishing and hunting enthusiasts in Florida to engage in their favorite pastimes without knowledge of the rules and regulations. Fish and wildlife alike are protected by numerous state laws as well as licensing regulations governing these activities. An Orlando fish and wildlife violations lawyer is available to help.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Violations

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) violations are listed in the Florida Statutes, Section 379.401. These violations are categories by:

  • Civil penalties for noncriminal activities
  • Criminal penalties for violations of a criminal nature
  • Guidelines regarding the suspension, revocation or forfeiture of licenses and permits associated with FWC-sanctioned activities

Section 6 of the code notes that the court may issue a suspension or forfeiture of any FWC license to anyone found guilty of code violations.

FWC has its own division for law enforcement purposes, and officers are dispatched to investigate illegal activities. They may levy misdemeanor and felony charges for infractions relating to fish and wildlife laws in Florida. These officers may also be responsible for enforcing any federal rules in this arena and dealing with boat safety violations and enforcement.

If you’ve run afoul of FWC regulations in Florida, you need the help of an experienced Florida fish and wildlife violations lawyer. The Umansky Law Firm will help you navigate the complexities of FWC regulations and laws. We have the necessary experience to settle the case in the most favorable manner for your situation.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Violation Levels

FWC has four levels of violations under which it may levy charges centered on fish and wildlife infractions. Understanding the nuances of each level can ensure that you operate within the boundaries of Florida code.

FWC Level Four Violations

Level Four is a third-degree felony violation and is the most serious of all FWC charges. A Level Four violation may be issued for the following:

  • The killing of a Florida or wild panther
  • The intentional killing or wounding of any endangered or threatened species, as well as any species of special concern
  • The unlawful killing, injuring or possession of alligators or any species within the Crocodilia family (also includes alligator eggs and capture of a member of the Crocodilia species)
  • Criminal activities relating to the taking of stone and blue crabs (or the harvesting of blue crabs)
  • Willful molestation or theft of spiny lobster and freshwater fishing gear
  • The sale of deer or wild turkey that has been taken unlawfully
  • The creation, reproduction or forgery of a FWC-sanctioned recreational license or possession of such a license without authorization from the commission

FWC Level Three Violations

A Level Three violation is a misdemeanor and includes the following activities:

  • Possessing and transporting commercial quantities of freshwater game fish species
  • Illegally taking and possessing wild turkey and/or deer
  • The sale or purchase of tarpon or the sale of saltwater fish
  • Importing freshwater fish
  • Illegal sale or possession of alligators
  • Taking game or fish with a suspended or revoked license
  • Illegal importation of exotic marine life

There are other provisions associated with this violation level, including possession of certain fish species beyond daily bag limits.

FWC Level Two Violations

A Level Two violation is a misdemeanor and may be issued for violating rules relating to:

  • Record-keeping regarding alligators
  • Saltwater fish feeding
  • Using traps other than those provided by Florida law
  • Using dogs to take wildlife
  • Tagging requirements for wildlife and fur-bearing animals
  • Restrictions on hunting areas and sanctuaries
  • Landing requirements for fish (saltwater and freshwater)
  • Seasons relating to the taking of wildlife and fish
  • Determining bag size, possession and size limits relating to wildlife and fish (saltwater and freshwater)
  • Use of explosive devices in freshwater regions managed by the FWC
  • Spearfishing
  • Harassment of hunters, anglers and trappers

There are other nuances of this violation level, which is one of the reasons it is important to read FWC codes in detail before engaging in hunting or fishing in Florida.

FWC Level One Violations

A Level One violation is a noncriminal infraction and typically warrants a citation to appear in court. It may be issued for contravening rules relating to:

  • The process of filing reports relating to holding recreational licenses or permits
  • Quota hunt limits, daily use permits, assignments for hunting zones, camping, the use of alcoholic beverages, check stations or vehicles on wildlife or fishing management areas or any other areas managed by the FWC
  • Vessel sizes or motor requirements on bodies of water managed by the FWC
  • Deer hunting in required clothing
  • Hunter safety education requirements
  • Recreational licensing for hunting, fishing and trapping

Punishments for these violations depend on a wide array of factors, including criminal background, type of violation and the circumstances surrounding the infraction. Understanding the violation tiers can help you to avoid engaging in activity that would put you on the wrong side of Florida law where fish and wildlife is concerned.

Common Florida Fish and Wildlife Violations

Unlike many unlawful acts, many people violate hunting and fishing regulations without ever being aware. As a result, when these individuals are met with legal action, they are often unaware of what led to the lawsuit. The best way to avoid an accidental violation is to be cognizant of what actions are considered unlawful.

The most common fish and wildlife violations in Florida are:

  • Fishing or hunting without a license or permit
  • Out-of-season fishing or hunting
  • Fishing or hunting on a suspended license
  • Harming or killing protected animals or fish such as gators
  • Fishing or hunting more than the legal limit for a specific species

Individuals caught in violation of multiple regulations can be subjected to numerous fines that can quickly pile and leave one under immense financial stress. The specific penalty for your crime depends solely on the nature of the crime.

Hire a Reputable Fish and Wildlife Violations Attorney in Orlando

If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve violated FWC law, you need the help of a qualified Orlando fish and wildlife violations lawyer. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is attempting to deal with the ramifications of a violation on their own. This may not only result in criminal charges but also, in some instances, a permanent loss of their fishing and hunting license in Florida. Let the skilled team at The Umansky Law Firm help you craft a viable defense that will help you realize an ideal case outcome.

We have more than 100 combined years of experience helping those charged with fish and wildlife crimes in Florida. We may be able to help you as well. Call or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.

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    Orlando Fish and Wildlife Violations Lawyer
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