Receiving a violation from a game warden for making a mistake on a hunting trip is a really good way to ruin a great trip. Even a small violation, such as shooting from a public road or not wearing enough (or any) hunter orange during the required hunting seasons, can make any hunter sick to his stomach over the thought of being charged with a hunting crime. Larger offenses, such as trespassing, or shooting a trophy animal out of season, can have a lasting impact on outdoorsmen. But when you are charged with a violation, do you need a lawyer?
It may be tempting to avoid the what you may consider the hassle of involving an attorney and simply paying the fines and moving on with your hunting career. Involving an attorney is usually not a hassle at all and can in fact relieve the burden that you feel when dealing with the issues yourself, but that doesn't mean that hiring legal counsel is always necessary. In fact, in many instances, it may well be worth it for those individuals with otherwise clean records who are charged with minimal offenses to just pay the fine and be done.
Those choosing to pay the fines on the ticket given by the game warden should be wary of the ancillary consequences—Paying the fines may not be the end of your troubles. Ensure that before you plead guilty to a hunting offense, you have researched the possible consequences of pleading guilty, such as a loss of your hunting and fishing privileges in your home state as well as nation-wide. Colorado, for instance, works on a point system, where certain offenses carry certain points. Accumulating more than 20 points in any given five year period means a possible hunting and fishing license privilege suspension.
Consulting with an attorney can help you make the right decision given any number of factors. Some wildlife and hunting crimes are felonies, meaning pleading guilty can have lasting impacts on your hunting and fishing abilities as well as your rights to own a firearm, vote, or even hold certain jobs. Unfortunately, there really isn’t a good rule of thumb on when you should consult with an attorney about a hunting ticket, other than to say that it is always a good idea to call and see if you do have any options. You may be surprised to learn how helpful just a phone call can be.
If you have received a hunting violation, and are considering hiring an attorney, call Hunting Attorney Nathaniel Gilbert to review your case with you and decipher what your options may be. Nathaniel is an attorney who works and consults with hunters, guides, and outfitters around the nation. As an experienced hunting and fishing lawyer, Nate knows the ins and outs of the judicial system and the traps that can sometimes catch those unfamiliar with particular administrative and criminal penalties.