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Puyallup Fish & Wildlife

Do You Need Legal Defense for a Hunting or Fishing Violation in Puyallup?

Feeding your family from the land has become a rite of passage in Pierce County and throughout Washington state. With such a fertile climate and home to dozens of species popular with foodies and recreational sportsmen, Puyallup has seen a steady rise in citations for Fish & Wildlife violations in the past several years.

Being cited for a fish and game violation can result in much more than just a slap on the wrist. If you are cited for a violation, you also risk forfeiting any equipment used during the violation, being suspended from hunting or fishing, forfeiting your rights to possess firearms or hunting licenses in the future, heavy fines, and possibly being sentenced to jail time.

Rules and regulations for fishing and hunting can change seasonally, and it’s up to residents and visitors of the area to understand and follow all laws if they are engaging in either sport. Ignorance of such laws is generally not a viable excuse to Fish and Game officers. If you have been charged with a violation, you may have many questions, such as

  • Will my fishing or hunting license be revoked if I’ve been charged with a violation in Puyallup?
  • Can I still legally hunt or fish out of state if I’ve been convicted of a violation in Washington?
  • Do I need a lawyer to fight a fishing or hunting violation in Pierce County?
  • What are some common punishments for conviction of a fishing or hunting violation in Washington state?

We will attempt to answer some of these questions on this website, but for specific information regarding your case or the Fish and Wildlife laws in Pierce County, contact our Puyallup criminal defense attorneys today. Our firm is devoted to keeping you informed, protecting your rights, and aggressively defending you in court. With over 50 combined years of experience with criminal law in the state of Washington, we understand what you are up against, and know how to get the results you want.

Common Fishing Violations in Pierce County Explained by a Puyallup Criminal Defense Lawyer

Fishing licenses and regulations are varied and complex. It is important to understand the state laws and regulations for fishing. The two most commonly seen charges for fishing violations in Pierce County are

  1. Unlawful Recreational Fishing in the First Degree- Is charged as a gross misdemeanor, which carries penalties of jail time up to 364 days and fines of up to $5,000. Common criminal violations of Unlawful recreational hunting in the first degree include
    • Harvesting more than the legal limit of fish
    • Abandoning a fish to waste
    • Fishing out of season
    • Fishing for a threatened or endangered species
    • Fishing for green sturgeon
    • Fishing for or possessing fish or shellfish that have been acquired via means including shooting, gaffing, snagging, snares, spears, dipnets, or stones from state waters.
  2. Unlawful Recreational Fishing in the Second Degree- is charged as a simple misdemeanor, which carries penalties of jail time up to 90 days and fines of up to $1,000. State statute RCW 77.15.380 defines Unlawful recreational fishing in the second degree as someone who fishes without a fishing license and catch record or
    “(a) The person owns, but does not have in the person's possession, the license or the catch record card required by chapter 77.32 RCW for such activity; or
    (b) The action violates any department rule regarding seasons, bag or possession limits but less than two times the bag or possession limit, closed areas, closed times, or any other rule addressing the manner or method of fishing for, taking, or possessing fish or shellfish.”

Washington Fish and Wildlife laws are very specific as to season, location, and type, size, and number of fish, reptiles, or amphibians that may be caught. If you have been cited for violation of fishing laws, it is important to get help to protect your rights as soon as possible.

Common Hunting Violations in Pierce County Explained by a Puyallup Defense Attorney

Pierce County is home to excellent big game hunting grounds for animals such as

  • Black-tailed deer
  • White-tailed deer
  • Roosevelt Elk
  • Cougars
  • Black Bear

Because big game hunting is such a popular pastime, citations for violations of the big game hunting laws have been steadily increasing.

Two of the most common charges our Puyallup criminal defense team handle for hunting violations include

Unlawful hunting in the Second Degree is charged when you hunt for, take or possess big game and do not have and possess all licenses, tags, or permits required. A conviction of unlawful hunting of big game in the second degree is a gross misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Additionally, your hunting license may be suspended or revoked.

Unlawful Hunting in the First Degree happens when you hunt for, take, or possess three or more big game animals within the same course of events; or the act occurs within five years of the date of a prior conviction for this charge. Unlawful hunting of big game in the first degree is a class C felony, which is punishable by up to five years in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. In addition, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife will revoke all hunting and fishing tags and licenses and order your hunting privileges suspended for 10 years.

How the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact Affects Visitors to Puyallup

A lot of people don’t realize that Fish & Wildlife violations can be seriously problematic, not just for locals but for visitors to the area as well.

Washington is one of 48 states that take part in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact (IWVC). What this means is that that license suspensions and revocations under wildlife laws within any one member state of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact will be recognized and given force in each of the other 47 states that belong to the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

For example, if Bob is convicted of Unlawful Hunting in the First Degree in Puyallup, he will lose his hunting license for 10 years. That means that if Bob travels to Idaho to take part in a mountain goat hunt, he cannot apply for a hunting license in Idaho because his license is revoked for 10 years, not only in Washington but in every state that takes part in the IWVC. If Bob were to get caught in Idaho hunting without a license, his punishment would be more severe because he’s already been convicted of illegal hunting in Washington.

How a Puyallup Hunting & Fishing Violations Lawyer Can Help You

If you’ve been charged with a criminal hunting or fishing violation, not taking action to defend yourself could result in severe consequences. When you need an advocate committed to fighting to protect your rights and freedoms, reach out to our Puyallup criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible.

Our firm understands both the immediate concern of a criminal charge as well as the long-term desire to continue outdoor activity. It is our goal to do everything possible to mitigate a charge and help you continue engaging in the activities you love. Contact us today for a no-cost case evaluation. We can discuss the specifics of your case, and how we can help you move forward.

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