Sumner Fish and Wildlife

Do You Need Help Challenging a Fish & Wildlife Violation in Sumner?

The Pacific Northwest is known for its gorgeous terrain and bountiful wildlife. It is no wonder that hunting and fishing are two extremely popular activities in Washington.

In order to avoid decimating our wildlife population, hunters and fishers must follow many different laws for environmental and safety reasons. The Washington State Fish and Wildlife Department devotes significant resources to ensuring that hunters and fishers follow these laws.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a hunting or fishing violation in Sumner, we encourage you to contact our Pierce County criminal defense attorneys. The penalties for violating these laws can be strict. You could lose your hunting or fishing license, as well as have to give up your animals. You may even have to forfeit your weapons or other assets used in the commission of the crime.

If you have questions about fish and wildlife laws, such as

  • Do I need a license to hunt or fish in Pierce County?
  • What penalties will I face if convicted of a hunting or fishing violation in Sumner?
  • Do I need a lawyer to fight fish and wildlife violations in Pierce County?
  • Will I lose my right to hunt or fish in another state if convicted of a violation in Washington?

Contact our Sumner criminal defense attorneys today. We would be happy to answer all of your questions about your specific case, or general fish and wildlife law questions during your free case consultation.

Common Pierce County Fishing Violations and Penalties Explained by a Sumner Criminal Defense Attorney

To many Sumner residents and visitors, nothing sounds better than sitting by the water, a fishing line in one hand and a cool drink in the other.

Fishing is a cherished pastime in Pierce County, and there is plenty of access to different bodies of water to indulge your inner angler. In order to protect some of our popular or endangered species, Washington state demands that all sportsmen wanting to cast a line must have a license to fish in any of Washington’s waters.

If you get caught fishing without a license, you will be charged with one of the most common fishing violations in Pierce County, Unlawful Recreational Fishing in the 2nd Degree. Washington state statute RCW 77.15.380 states that “(1) A person is guilty of unlawful recreational fishing in the second degree if the person fishes for fish or shellfish and, whether or not the person possesses fish or shellfish, the person has not purchased the appropriate fishing or shellfishing license and catch record card issued to Washington residents or nonresidents” Unlawful Recreational Fishing in the 2nd Degree is charged as a simple misdemeanor. If convicted, penalties may include up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Unlawful Recreational Fishing in the 1st Degree is the other most commonly charged violation in Pierce County. You will be charged with this crime if you get caught doing any of the following-

  1. Take, possess, or retain two times or more than the bag limit or possession limit of fish or shellfish allowed
  2. You fish in a fishway
  3. You shoot, gaff, snag, snare, dipnet, or stone fish or shellfish in state waters, or possess fish or shellfish taken by such means
  4. You fish for or possess a fish listed as threatened or endangered
  5. You possess a sturgeon measuring more than the maximum size limit.

Unlawful Recreational Fishing in the 1st degree is charged as a gross misdemeanor. That means if you are convicted of this crime, your punishment may include up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Misdemeanors are the jurisdiction of both municipal and district courts. This means that if you are charged with a fish and wildlife violation in Sumner, you will either have to appear at the Bonney Lake Municipal Court, which serves Bonney Lake as well as Sumner, or the Pierce County District Court, which is located in Tacoma. Which court you will have to appear in is dependent upon the location of your violation.

Sumner Criminal Defense Attorneys Explain Common Pierce County Hunting Violations

Home to some of the best elk and deer hunting in the Pacific Northwest, Pierce County is a premier hunting destination for sportsmen Every year, thousands of sportsmen come to the area for hunting and fishing trips, and every year, authorities charge many of them for violating state and federal regulations. Every year, hundreds of hunters flock to the area to tackle some big game, and every year, many of them get charged with violating Washington state hunting statutes.

The two most commonly charged hunting violations in Washington are

  1. Unlawful hunting of big game in the Second Degree- This is charged when you hunt for, take or possess big game (including elk and deer) and do not have or possess all licenses, tags, or permits required. It can also be charged if you violate any department rule regarding seasons, bag or possession limits, closed areas, closed times, or any other rule governing the hunting, taking, or possession of big game. 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, upon conviction, the Washington State Fish and Wildlife department will revoke all hunting licenses and tags for a period of 2 years.
  2. Unlawful Hunting in the First Degree- This charge happens when you get caught hunting for, taking, or possessing 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.

All felony charges are adjudicated at the Superior Court level. This means that if you’ve been charged with Unlawful Hunting in the 1st degree in Sumner, you will need to appear at the Pierce County Superior Court, located in downtown Tacoma.

Understanding the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact

The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact (IWVC) is an agreement between participating states to recognize suspensions of hunting and fishing licenses in other member states. Put simply, if you commit illegal activities in one member state, such as Idaho, it may affect your hunting or fishing rights in all participating states. Currently, 45 states, including Washington are members of this compact.

How a Sumner Criminal Law Attorney Can Help With Fish and Wildlife Violations

Many people are unaware of the laws surrounding hunting and fishing in Washington state. This is why it is important to have a Sumner criminal defense lawyer by your side if you have been accused of committing wildlife crimes.

A skilled and knowledgeable Fish and Wildlife violations lawyer can help you craft a defense tailored around the specifics of your case. Don't wait until it's too late to get the skilled legal assistance you need. Let our Sumner criminal defense lawyers provide the aggressive representation that can make a real difference for your case. Contact our firm today for a free case consultation.

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