What is the Penalty for Unlawful Possession of Fish in Colorado?

Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) Title 33 states the penalty for being in unlawful possession of fish as $35 in fines and 5 license suspension points for the first fish.  However, for each additional fish, the fine is $10 and 1 license suspension point.  An individual unlawfully in possession of 5 fish, for example, would be fined $75 and be given 9 license suspension points.

Colorado Fishing Violation Lawyer Nathaniel Gilbert

CRS 33-6-109(3)(g) states that “for all fish, mollusks, crustaceans, amphibians, or reptiles not covered by paragraph (a) of this subsection (3), a fine of thirty-five dollars and an assessment of five points for the first such animal and, for each additional such animal taken or possessed at the same time, an additional fine of ten dollars per animal and an additional assessment of one point per animal,” (“paragraph (a)”, as reference here, talks about the penalties for endangered or threatened animals).

Unlawful possession of fish is usually given as an included charge when an angler has allegedly committed some other violation such as trespassing or fishing without a license.  The top three Colorado fishing violations (other than unlawful possession of fish) given out in 2015 were 1) Fishing Without a Proper and Valid License, 2) Fishing With Bait in Fly and Lure Only Water, and 3) Second Rod Stamp Violations.  Fishermen who are charged with any of these violations while they have fish in their possession, will likely be charged with an additional count of Unlawful Possession of Fish.  It is assumed by the Colorado Wildlife and Parks Officer that the fish would have been caught illegally.

If you find yourself charged with a Colorado Fishing Violation, it is important to understand all of the charges against you.  For fishing violations, the charges and resulting fines and points that would be assessed if you are convicted or plead guilty can substantially affect your hunting and fishing privileges nationwide.  Before paying your ticket and mailing the fine amount to the court, consult with Colorado Fishing Violation Lawyer Nathaniel Gilbert about your rights, defenses and the strengths of your case.  Nate Gilbert has defended outdoorsmen in several states and can help you make the best decision on handling your wildlife, hunting and fishing violations.