FWC Marine Life Crimes

Florida is often referred to as the “fishing capital of the world” due to its various habitats, great weather, and wildlife diversity. Many residents enjoy hunting and fishing in their free time, and visitors travel from all across the world to participate in the year-round fishing fun. The state of Florida takes preserving the environment and protecting wildlife very seriously. In order to keep the ecosystems stable, individuals must follow rules and regulations when participating in these activities. 

If you accidentally break a rule, you may be at risk of a serious criminal charge. If you encounter a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) violation, working with an experienced FWC marine life crimes lawyer can assist you through the legal process. Our team at the Umansky Law Firm understands that mistakes happen, and we hope to provide you with dependable legal representation. With our help, you can confidently convey your intentions in legal proceedings as well as seek a less severe punishment for the violation. 

What Are the Most Common FWC Marine Life Crimes?

Florida has a variety of marine animals that an individual may encounter when fishing or out on the water. Whether you’re out on the ocean or cruising down a spring, you must treat the animals you see with respect and caution. Here are some of the FWC and Florida state protections.

Crimes Prohibiting Interacting with Manatees

Manatees are large, docile creatures, and are very common across Florida. The Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 protect the animals from attempts to annoy, wound, molest, shoot, hunt, pursue, harass, feed, or harm the animals. These protections hold severe punishments if disregarded and can even lead to time in jail. 

If you are found to have unlawful interactions with a manatee, you can face a second-degree misdemeanor. The level two offense can come with up to a $500 fine and 60 days in jail or six months of probation. Also, you can face up to $100,000 in fines and a year in federal prison by violating federal manatee protection laws. 

Crimes Prohibiting the Harassment of Dolphins

It is not uncommon to see an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin in Florida waters. These majestic creatures often amaze residents and visitors. However, some individuals may get too excited and unknowingly violate the law. While these animals are not endangered, dolphins are protected under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act and Florida law. Individuals who participate in actions that can potentially injure or disrupt the dolphin’s behavior can face severe consequences. 

Harassing, pursuing, tormenting, or annoying a dolphin may be considered disrupting the animal’s behavior. If a dolphin’s behavior is disrupted due to any human-caused actions, the person may suffer allegations of harassment or disturbance under Section 379.2431(3). In some cases, individuals may be unaware they are harming or changing the dolphin’s behaviors until they face legal consequences. This is why it’s essential to have reliable legal representation. 

Crimes Prohibiting Disturbing Sea Turtles

Unfortunately, there are many types of endangered species of sea turtles. Florida has many volunteer programs and organizations that work tirelessly to preserve the various types of sea turtles. The Florida Marine Turtle Protection Act protects all sea turtles, and most types of sea turtles are also protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Individuals are prohibited from possessing, taking, disturbing, destroying, mutilating, molesting, selling, and harassing marine turtles, their nests, eggs, or habitat.  

Five prominent species of sea turtles are common in Florida, including green sea turtles, leatherback sea turtles, Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles, and loggerhead sea turtles. Depending on the intention and severity of the crime, you can face harsh punishments for crimes against sea turtles. From a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, the consequences for harming or harassing a sea turtle are serious. 

When you encounter a wild animal in the water, you may get excited and unintentionally break the rules and regulations set by the FWC. If you encounter a situation where you require experienced legal assistance, contact a dependable FWC marine life violation lawyer. They will be able to guide you through the steps of your case so that you can feel comfortable and protected. 

Should You Seek an FWC Marine Life Crimes Lawyer?

When you’re facing allegations of harassment or disturbance of a marine animal in Florida, the punishments you may face are severe and can significantly impact your daily life. Having someone you can count on to protect your rights and intentions is vital to your case. The following are a few examples of ways an FWC marine animal violation lawyer can help you: 

  • Answer questions related to your violation and case
  • Conduct a thorough investigation
  • Help navigate you through the legal process
  • Negotiate settlement offers
  • Review legal documents
  • Analyze for legal issues
  • Gather evidence
  • Know fishing, hunting, and other relevant laws

The legal process of handling an FWC violation for marine crimes comes with unfamiliar steps and terminology that can confuse you. Working with someone who has experience dealing with the complicated steps can save you time, money, and can protect you from facing severe punishments. 

Contact a Dependable Umansky Law Firm FWC Marine Life Crimes Lawyer

The Umansky Law Firm has years of experience working with individuals across Florida who need reliable legal representation. We understand that everyone makes mistakes, and we are dedicated to helping preserve the rights and privileges of our clients. Fishing and hunting are an essential part of many people’s lives in Florida, so making sure you have a strong defense can help you continue to enjoy the activities you love. 

Our countless positive testimonials and past results give our future clients the ability to feel confident and protected with our representation. We will do our best to make sure you have the best possible outcome for your case. 

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