Attorney for FWC Fishing Violations

Florida fishing is some of the best in the world, with an abundance of species found here and numerous waterways on which to fish for them. However, Florida also has stringent rules governing fishing and hunting. They are set through the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Failure to follow them may result in criminal charges. The Umansky Law Firm has provided legal guidance to numerous individuals who got caught up in the legal ramifications of failing to follow FWC rules on fishing in the Sunshine State. Having an attorney for FWC fishing violations on your side can make a huge difference in your situation’s outcome. 

One of the worst mistakes people make is thinking they can deal with the issue independently. Depending on the severity of the violation, this can be costly, resulting in a hefty fine and sometimes even a warrant for your arrest. Working with an experienced legal team might help you avoid such an outcome. 

Common FWC Fishing Rule Violations

Because of the abundance of fish species, Florida is a hotspot for this particular activity. However, many are protected or covered within the parameters of specific fishing seasons. It is easy to violate the law when it comes to fishing in Florida. Common FWC fishing rule violations include: 

  • Fishing without a license or fishing with a suspended FWC license
  • Keeping undersized fish
  • Keeping illegal fish species
  • Possession of a dolphin (mahi-mahi) less than 20 inches in length
  • Fishing for species out of season
  • Harvesting or possessing snook out of season 
  • Fishing more than the legal limit for a species
  • Taking or disturbing sea turtle nests, eggs or the turtles themselves

There are numerous others relating to specific species of marine life in relation to seasons and bag limits. 

FWC Fishing Violation Penalties

FWC fishing violation penalties are divided into four distinct levels. They are meant to target individuals who fail to follow FWC laws to protect fish and wildlife. Working with an attorney for FWC fishing violations can ensure that you avoid some of the harsher penalties. 

Level 1

Infractions at this level involve licenses, permits, reporting and management areas. They are noncriminal and typically require payment of civil penalties. The first conviction at this level is typically $50 and the cost to obtain a proper license. The second is steeper with a fine of $250 plus the cost of a license or permit. 

Level 2

Level 2 violations deal with fishing or hunting out of season and methods used, bag limits, tagging requirements, restricted areas and feeding wildlife. Violations at this level are criminal charges classified as second-degree misdemeanors. They may be punishable by 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. However, more severe violations may be escalated to first-degree misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine for those who have past violations. 

Level 3

Level 3 violations involve the sale of saltwater fish or exotic marine plants and taking a fish with a suspended license, importing freshwater fish, transporting commercial quantities of freshwater fish, and possessing alligators. Violations at this level are first-degree misdemeanors, punishable by a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Those with prior FWC convictions face mandatory fines and recreational license suspension for an infraction at this level. There is also the possibility of jail time and additional fines. 

Level 4

Level 4 violations involve the criminal taking of stone or blue crabs, unlawful spiny lobster trap tags, forging recreational licenses, killing alligator eggs and willful molestation of gear. They are third-degree felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. This level is the most severe in terms of fish and wildlife violations. 

Benefits of Working with an Attorney for FWC Fishing Violations

We will help you determine the best possible course of action for your case, starting with a full case review. We can then look at the strengths and weaknesses of your situation to determine what evidence might exist to support the charges leveled against you. The Umansky Law Firm will work with you to pursue every possible legal strategy to garner you the best possible outcome for your case. 

We will explore various options, including negotiating with prosecutors on your behalf to exercise your right to go to trial. We will also analyze any possible procedural errors in your case, which could help resolve it faster. 

Consult With an Experienced Attorney for FWC Fishing Violations

The last thing you want is to incur fines and other penalties for failing to operate within the FWCs fishing guidelines. However, given the subjective nature of this hobby and annual shifts to the rules, mistakes can sometimes occur. When they do, the team at The Umansky Law Firm may be able to help you. We have more than two decades of experience helping individuals in the Central Florida area address their FWC infractions. 

Call us today at 497-890-0335 or schedule a free case review online. You can also live chat with us 24 hours a day, seven days a week.