Is It A Crime to Catch An Undersized Fish or Too Many Lobster?

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is tasked with protecting the state’s natural resources, including fish, wildlife, and the environment. This goal of the Commission is to accomplish this task, while still provide a safe and inviting environment for people to enjoy. The Commission is staffed with law enforcement officers who patrol onshore and offshore areas, as well as wildlife areas across the state. These officers have the legal authority to conduct investigations and issue citations for any violation that is discovered. That said, you might be wondering just what type of citation might be issued, how you receive notice of a violation, and if committing a violation is a crime.

The Florida law on the issue provide for penalties and fines for wildlife violations. Some examples of violations include:

● Combining federal bag limits with state bag limits. It is your responsibility to make sure the size is right.
● Having too many fish or lobsters.
● With regard to spearfishing, the use of powerheads, bangsticks, and rebreathers is prohibited. Spearfishing in restricted areas is also a violation.

If you are charged with a marine life violation crime, versus receiving a civil ticket, you can be charged with a misdemeanor and be required to appear in court to answer the charges. The requirement to appear in court for this type of case is a little bit different than what most people experience for other matters. Failing to appear when noticed to do so is also a misdemeanor. If you have received a wildlife violation ticket it is crucial that you contact an attorney right away. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to let you know what type of defense best fits the facts of your case, and will explain the consequences of this unique type of criminal charge.

If you have questions about wildlife violations, call our office for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Key West.