Fish & Wildlife Violations In California
In this article, you can discover:
- Common unintentional regulatory violations faced by commercial fishermen in California, and how enforcement has increased in recent years.
- The importance of understanding the administrative process with the California Fish and Game Commission, and how an experienced attorney can be crucial in defending fishing privileges.
- The possibility of expunging fish and wildlife violations from one’s record in California, and the potential consequences for commercial fishing licenses and permits.
What Are Common Violations Commercial Fishermen Face In California?
Commercial fishermen in California often deal with unintentional regulatory violations. These can include fishing in protected areas, catching undersized fish, and accidentally leaving fishing gear in the water after the season ends. In recent years, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has been working closely with local prosecutors to increase enforcement of these rules by initiating legal actions against commercial fisherman both criminally and by file petitions for injunctive relief and monetary sanctions in civil proceedings.
What Should Commercial Fishermen Know About The Department Of Fish And Game Commission’s Administrative Process? Can A Law Firm Help?
When commercial fishermen in California receives multiple violations under the Fish and Game Code or California Code of Regulations, they might have to defend their commercial fishing privileges or limited-entry permits in front of an administrative law judge acting on behalf of the Fish and Game Commission.
The California Fish and Game Commission has been pushing to revoke or suspend these permits for longer periods. Having an experienced attorney on your side can be very helpful in fighting against these actions. Proceedings before the Fish and Game Commission often involve voluminous reports and lengthy hearings. A commercial fisherman should consult with a lawyer experienced with representing individuals before the Fish and Game Commission.
Is It Possible To Get A Fish And Wildlife Violation Removed From A Record In California?
After completing probation terms, people convicted of fish and wildlife violations in California can ask the Superior Court to expunge their records under Penal Code Section 1203.4. However, the court might deny the request if any probation terms were violated.
It’s also possible to request early termination of probation under Penal Code Section 1203.3 if there’s a good reason. Keep in mind that even if a fish and wildlife conviction is expunged, the Fish and Game Commission can still try to suspend or revoke commercial fishing licenses or permits.
Can First-Time Offenders Avoid Jail For A Fish And Wildlife Violation In California?
Fish and wildlife violations in California are primarily regulatory and don’t require criminal intent. Although misdemeanor violations can result in jail sentences of up to one year, it’s rare for jail time to be imposed.
In most cases, there is little to no jail time for regulatory violations, unless the violation involves intentional actions like poaching. The main consequences of these violations are usually the potential suspension or revocation of commercial fishing licenses or permits and the loss of harvest or catch at the time of the citation.
Will A Commercial Fishing License Be Lost If You Are Found Guilty Of A Fish And Wildlife Violation In California?
California courts can take action against recreational or sport fishing licenses as a result of a commercial conviction, but suspending or revoking a commercial fishing license typically happens after an administrative proceeding with the California Fish and Game Commission.
The Commission takes action against commercial licenses and permits after being notified by the Department of Fish and Wildlife that a person has violated the Fish and Game Code multiple times. Through the hearing, the fisher has the opportunity to defend themselves and argue against the suspension or revocation. If the Commission votes to suspend or revoke a license or permit, the decision can be appealed to the Superior Court where the alleged conduct occurred.
For more information on Fishing & Wildlife Violations In California, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 728-9982 today.