Wildlife Offenses

The FWC Florida Wildlife Commission is designated by the state of Florida to enforce all laws relating to wildlife in our state. These officers take their job very seriously and will enforce laws down to the inch. Most of the wildlife violations in Florida involved aquatic life or fish and crustaceans, but this area of law also covers land-based violations. 

As former prosecutors, we worked closely with FWC and have developed strategies to successfully defend your case based on our experience. If you are looking for an FWC lawyer look no further. The FWC attorneys at Lopez & DeFilippo have the experience and knowledge to get the best result possible in your case, which may include a reduction of charges or even dismissal.

Types of Violations

Level 1 – these violations are the noncriminal infractions, meaning they will not include jail time. These types of violations commonly include permits, licensing, and entry onto managed areas. Fishing or hunting without a license is most likely the reason for a level one infraction. These infractions start at $50 for first time offenders and increase if the person was found to be in violation previously. 

These violations are in the form of a citation that the person must sign and accept to appear before the county court. If a person does not accept the citation, appear in court, or pay the fine for a level one violation, they commit a second degree misdemeanor.

Level 2 – These violations are second degree misdemeanors and involve the taking of fish or wildlife out of season, bag limits, size limits, take methods, access to restricted areas, feeding of wildlife, landing requirements, restricted hunting areas, unlawful finfish traps, use of dogs for the taking of wildlife, trapping requirements.

Any person who violates any of these regulations as a first offender commits a misdemeanor of the second degree. If someone commits a second level two violation within 3 years it becomes a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and mandatory find of $250. If someone commits a third level two violation within 5 years it becomes a first degree misdemeanor with mandatory recreational license suspension of 1 year and a mandatory $500 fine. If a fourth violation is committed within 10 years, the violation becomes a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail, $750 mandatory fine, and 3 year mandatory recreational license suspension.

Level 3 – These violations are first degree misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail, $1000 fine and possible recreational license suspension. These violations include prohibition of sale of saltwater fish, illegal importation or possession of exotic marine plants or animals, possession of certain finfish in excess of daily bag limits, importation of fresh water fish, taking of wildlife while required license is suspended or revoked, illegal sale of possession of alligators, illegal taking or possession of deer and wild turkey, and possession and transportation of commercial quantities of fresh water game fish.

For first violation in the last ten years punishment can include one year jail and a 1000$ max fine. A second or subsequent conviction in the past ten years will include also include up to one year in jail with a mandatory fine of $750 and suspension of license up to 3 years. If a violation occurred due to a taking of a fish or game with a previously suspended license, there is a mandatory $1000 fine.

Level 4 – These violations are third degree felonies punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to a $5000 fine. These violation include, unlawful taking and harvesting of stone crabs, unlawful taking and harvesting of blue crabs, willful molestation of gear in lobster or freshwater gear, forging recreational licenses, unlawful production of lobster trap tags, sale of illegally-taken deer or wild turkey, unlawful killing or possession of alligators or their eggs. These violations are the most serious of all FWC violations and a conviction for one of these charges can carry up to 5 years per count.