Adults aged 16 years or older must purchase and have in their possession a fishing license in order to fish or take any fish in Colorado. Youth aged under 16 years old may fish and take a full limit without a license. Seniors aged 64 and older can obtain a fishing license for $1 (.25 search and rescue fee, .75 Wildlife Management Education Fund Surcharge). Everyone who fishes with a second line, MUST obtain a second-rod stamp. A fishing ticket for not having a license (or the right license) can have lasting repercussions on your ability to hunt and fish nationwide.
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 Hunting License Violations can be a serious matter even for what may seem a trivial piece of false or wrong information. If you receive any kind of Colorado Hunting Licensing violation, you should consult with an attorney prior to pleading guilty and paying the fines, as you may have defenses or options to pursue.
The decision to fight your hunting violation is a big one and shouldn't be taken lightly. Whether it is one small charge, or multiple charges with thousands of dollars in fines and multiple points assessed, you should consider consulting with an attorney about your rights and what possible defenses may be available to you.
Receiving a ticket for fishing on private property can be a frustrating situation. Often it is merely a mistake and no real harm was intended and indeed, you may not have even caught a fish, but still receive the violation. If you receive a fishing violation in Colorado for fishing on private property without permission, you need to speak with an attorney before paying the fine and pleading guilty.
The particular statute governing fishing on private property reads:
C.R.S. 33-6-116. Hunting, trapping, or fishing on private property: (1) It is unlawful for any person to enter upon privately owned land or lands under the control of the state board of land commissioners to hunt or take any wildlife by hunting, trapping, or fishing without first obtaining permission from the owner or person in possession of such land.
Trespassing in Colorado, whether for fishing, hunting, or trapping, results in 20 license suspension points. 20 or more license suspension points in a five year period results in a hearing before the Wildlife Commission and possibly, loss of your hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for the coming seasons. In essence, a violation for fishing on private property could put your elk hunt this fall in jeopardy.
If you are on private property, you may wonder how the Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer who issued you the fishing ticket got out there without permission. CPW officers are allowed onto private property to investigate fishing, hunting, or trapping offenses without permission of the landowner. There are limits to this power, but CPW officers are given a wide authority on enforcing wildlife statutes. Additionally, you still have defenses available even if the officer is allowed to be there such as your 4th Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure. An attorney can help you determine any defenses that may be available to you.
Finally, trespassing in Colorado is a strict liability crime. Essentially, it does not matter whether you meant to or not. Trespassing is an offense regardless of if you crossed onto private property purposefully, or “with intent.” Again though, this does not mean that just because an officer says you were trespassing, that you do not have defenses to this accusation. How was the location determined? Where was the officer when he/she saw you allegedly trespass? Is there evidence to the contrary?
If you receive a fishing violation for fishing on private property in Colorado, The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert will help review your case and provide a free consultation. You have nothing to lose by calling an attorney and getting help deciding what your best options will be. Often, fishing violations are able to be handled for a flat fee with no lengthy hourly billings. Before you just pay the fine and plead guilty, think ahead and talk with an attorney—Your elk hunting buddies will thank you.
Colorado has many fishing areas that have special regulations on the kinds of methods you may use to fish. One such regulation is that of "Artificial Flies and Lures Only." In 2014, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officers gave out nearly 100 tickets for "Fishing With Bait in Fly/Lure Only Water." If you are cited for fishing with an unlawful bait your first call should be to your attorney for a free consultation on your rights and defenses. However, let's look a little closer at what exactly this rule means to help avoid this problem in the first place.
Bait is defined in the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Regulations as: "any hand-moldable material designed to attract fish by the sense of taste or smell; those devices to which scents or smell attractants have been added or externally applied (regardless if the scent is added in the manufacturing process or applied afterward); scented manufactured fish eggs and traditional organic baits, including but not limited to worms, grubs, crickets, leeches, dough baits or stink baits, insects, crayfish, human food, fish, fish parts or fish eggs." The definition is unsurprising to most anglers, save for the portion regarding spray attractants. The trouble here is, for most spray attractants that would be applied to otherwise legal flies or lures would leave very little in the way of identifiable scent for a human (CPW officer) to detect. You could just receive the ticket based on having the spray attractant visible in your tackle box even if you're not actually using it.
Artificial flies and lures are defined as: "devices made entirely of, or a combination of, natural or synthetic non-edible, non-scented (regardless if the scent is added in the manufacturing process or applied afterward), materials such as wood, plastic, silicone, rubber, epoxy, glass, hair, metal, feathers, or fiber, designed to attract fish." Again, the definition is not surprising to most anglers but does give a very bright line rule for fishermen and women to consult and follow.
If you do receive a ticket for fishing with bait in fly or lure only water, you need to call The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert for a 100% free consultation regarding your rights, defenses, and any repercussions that could come from pleading guilty and paying the fine. Finding out too late that your fishing violation compromised your once in a lifetime elk hunt this fall could be devastating.
Colorado Fishing Violations may seem small and fishermen and anglers may be tempted to plead guilty and pay the fines. However, the violations could have serious impacts on your ability to hunt in the fall depending on the number of points you will receive on your hunting license. Hunting and Fishing Violation Attorney Nathaniel Gilbert can help you evaluate your case and find your best route back in the field.