When you receive a Colorado hunting violation or Colorado fishing violation, you’ll have the option of paying the ticket in the field, paying the violation by mail, or going to Court. This is an important decision and should not be taken lightly. Hunting and Fishing Violations in Colorado are criminal charges and appear on your record as such. Some wildlife violations are even felonies that can have long lasting impacts on your ability to maintain a job or possess firearms.
What Happens if I Pay the Violation?
If you pay the violation you are pleading guilty to the charges, waiving your right to an attorney and to challenge the charges, and your right to a trial. The charges are then placed on your record as a conviction and the fines associated with them are immediately due to the state of Colorado. Additionally, any hunting license suspension points that are associated with the charges that you are convicted of will be submitted to the Colorado Department of Wildlife and Parks and recorded on your hunting license. For more on hunting and fishing license suspension points, Click Here.
What Happens if I Go to Court?
While it is never advisable to go to court without an attorney to represent you, it is certainly within your rights to do so, and is sometimes a better option than just paying your ticket and pleading guilty. When you go to court, there will be a prosecutor present who may or may not be able to negotiate your charges down to a lesser charge or fewer fines. The trouble with this is, the prosecutor does not represent you and has no obligation to look to your best interest. The prosecutor represents the state of Colorado, the party who is charging you with the criminal offenses. The prosecutor also has access to an entire file of discovery, including statements and evidence relating to your case that you may not have had access to yet. Obviously, negotiating your case with the other party who is the only one who has the evidence puts you at a severe disadvantage.
Can I Hire An Attorney for my Wildlife Violations?
Not only can you, but you absolutely should. At the very least, consult with an attorney before you decide to pay your ticket and plead guilty or go to court on your own. Colorado Wildlife Violation Attorney Nathaniel Gilbert helps hunters, fishermen, guides, and outfitters with hunting and fishing violations received in the field. Examining the evidence and determining your best choice is an important step in the process and should not be overlooked when you receive a hunting or fishing violation, and Nathaniel can help.