University Place Fish and Wildlife

Have You Been Cited for a Fish & Wildlife Violation in Pierce County?

Because Washington state is home to a diversity of ecosystems, Pierce County is blessed with an abundance of fish and wildlife. Visitors and locals alike flock to the county to dip their lines into the nearby Puget Sound or bag their first six-point buck.

The laws regarding fishing and hunting within the State of Washington are extensive and constantly changing. As a result, a person may be accused of a violation without knowing that their conduct was illegal. Unfortunately, ignorance of the law is not an applicable defense when it comes to fish and wildlife violations in University Place.

Very few attorneys fully understand or even represent fish and wildlife violations. Fish and wildlife violations require in-depth knowledge of the law within this sector. As a full-service criminal defense firm in Pierce County, we have the tools and resources to assist clients dealing with fish and wildlife violations.

This website provides some general knowledge about the most common Fish and Wildlife violations in University Place and throughout Pierce County. If you have any questions regarding your specific charge, please contact our firm today. We offer a free case consultation to all prospective clients. To have the best chance of getting your charges dismissed, you need a defense attorney on your side who is experienced with these nuanced statutes and regulations.

Common Fishing Violations In and Around Yelm

If you plan on spending your free time dipping your line in the lakes and creek around University Place, the last thing you want to have to worry about is a run-in with the game warden.

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.”

Furthermore, every year the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife releases emergency rule updates that, if broken, can result in criminal charges. Violating any of these rules can result in negative consequences for your fishing license as well as misdemeanor charges, and you may have to pay additional fines should the fish in question die as a result. Additionally, the warden may confiscate any equipment used during the violation (including your tackle, traps, or even your boat).

All misdemeanor charges are adjudicated at the Pierce County District Court, located in Tacoma.

Common Hunting/Wildlife Violations in Thurston County

The area surrounding Tacoma is a hunter’s dream if you’re looking to score a Columbia Blacktail buck. Local hunters spend months leading up to season scouting the perfect location to set up their blinds. If you’re looking to bag a six-point buck around Pierce County, you should familiarize yourself with the local hunting regulations.

Washington State has strict game laws and many people face penalties for offenses they did not know were illegal. Examples of some of these violations can include:

  • Hunting on private property without permission
  • Waste of game
  • Failure to tag
  • Failure to obtain a proper license
  • Unknowingly hunting protected species

Two of the most common charges our University Place criminal defense team handle for fish and wildlife violations are

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

If you have been charged with Unlawful Hunting in the First Degree and need to appear in court, all felony charges are adjudicated at the Pierce County Superior Court, located in Tacoma.

As you can see, these offenses and others can limit your participation in a favorite outdoor sport and result in hefty fines. Many people pay their fines without realizing the additional impacts of admitting to these violations. If you face violations, it is a good idea to talk to a University Place criminal defense attorney before pleading to any charges.

How Can a Pierce County Criminal Defense Attorney Help You With a Fish and Wildlife Charge?

Fish & Game violations may not seem serious, but they can have a long-lasting impact on your rights. You could lose your hunting and fishing privileges permanently if convicted of a serious violation.

Here are a few other reasons that you may want to hire a University Place criminal defense lawyer to defend you for a fish and wildlife charge:

  • With over 50 combined years of experience, we understand the criminal justice system
  • We have defended charges similar to the ones you are facing
  • We will offer legal options so you can make an informed decision
  • We answer all questions you have about your case or the law so that you can understand what’s happening to you

It pays in the end to have a University Place wildlife violation attorney fighting on your side. Our team of legal professionals will do everything we can to help you through this difficult time. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.

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