Fish and Wildlife Crimes

Federal fish and wildlife crimes refer to offenses committed against wildlife, fish, and related resources that fall under federal jurisdiction in the United States. These crimes are governed by various statutes and regulations aimed at protecting and conserving the nation's natural resources. 

If you have been cited for any of the following violations and have questions about your rights, give Kolsrud Law Offices a call today for a free consultation. We will evaluate your case from top to bottom and let you how we can help fight your charges.

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Lacey Act

Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. § 3371-3378)

The Lacey Act prohibits trafficking in wildlife, fish, and plants that have been illegally taken, possessed, transported, or sold across state or international borders.


It covers offenses such as the illegal trade of protected species, the importation or exportation of wildlife or plants in violation of U.S. or foreign laws, and false labeling or documentation related to wildlife or plant products.


Violations of the Lacey Act can result in both criminal and civil penalties, including fines, imprisonment, asset forfeiture, and restitution.

Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. § 1531-1544)

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) aims to protect and recover endangered and threatened species and their habitats.


It prohibits the harming, harassing, capturing, killing, or trading of listed species, as well as the destruction or alteration of their habitats.


Violations of the Endangered Species Act can lead to criminal and civil penalties, including fines, imprisonment, forfeiture of assets, and court-ordered compliance measures.

Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. § 703-712)

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) protects migratory birds and their nests, eggs, and habitats.


It prohibits the hunting, capturing, killing, possessing, or trading of migratory birds protected by the act without proper permits or exemptions.


Violations of the MBTA can result in both criminal and civil penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and forfeiture of hunting equipment.

Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. § 668-668d)

The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) safeguards bald and golden eagles, their nests, and parts from harm, disturbance, or possession.


It prohibits the killing, selling, or disturbing of eagles or their nests, feathers, or parts without proper permits or exemptions.


Violations of the BGEPA can lead to criminal and civil penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and forfeiture of assets.

fish and wildlife conservation

Marine Mammal Protection Act (16 U.S.C. § 1361-1423h)

The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) aims to protect marine mammals in U.S. waters and prevent their harassment, hunting, capturing, or killing.


It regulates activities such as commercial fishing, marine mammal research, import/export of marine mammal products, and interactions with marine mammals in captivity.


Violations of the MMPA can result in criminal and civil penalties, including fines, imprisonment, forfeiture, and restrictions on fishing or research activities.

Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. § 1801-1891d)

The Magnuson-Stevens Act governs the conservation and management of marine fisheries in federal waters.


It establishes regulations and quotas to prevent overfishing, rebuild fish stocks, protect essential fish habitats, and ensure sustainable fisheries.


Violations of the Magnuson-Stevens Act can lead to civil penalties, permit sanctions, fishing vessel seizures, and other enforcement actions.

Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act (18 U.S.C. § 42)

This act prohibits the import, export, sale, or offer for sale of products made from rhinoceros or tiger species, except under specific circumstances and with appropriate permits.


Violations of this act can result in criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

federal wildlife laws

African Elephant Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. § 4201-4245)

This act regulates the import, export, and sale of African elephant ivory and other elephant products.


It establishes a moratorium on the importation and sale of elephant ivory with limited exceptions.


Violations of this act can lead to criminal and civil penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and forfeiture.

National Marine Sanctuaries Act (16 U.S.C. § 1431-1445)

This act establishes a system of marine sanctuaries to protect and conserve specific areas of the ocean.


It prohibits certain activities within marine sanctuaries, including harming or disturbing protected species, damaging habitats, and conducting unauthorized activities.


Violations of this act can result in civil and administrative penalties, including fines and enforcement actions.

Federal Wildlife Laws and Regulations

Various federal agencies, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), enforce specific regulations related to wildlife conservation, hunting, fishing, and habitat protection.


These regulations govern activities such as sport and commercial fishing, migratory bird hunting, marine mammal protection, and management of national wildlife refuges. Violations of federal wildlife regulations can lead to civil and criminal penalties, including fines, imprisonment, permit revocation, and confiscation of equipment.


It's important to note that federal fish and wildlife laws often work in conjunction with state laws and regulations.


State-specific wildlife laws may provide additional protections and penalties for offenses occurring within state boundaries or involving state-managed species.


Given the complexities of federal fish and wildlife crimes, it's crucial to consult with an experienced attorney familiar with these statutes and regulations to understand the specific elements of the offenses and the applicable penalties in your jurisdiction.

Arizona Fish and Wildlife Regulations

Arizona has its own set of fish and wildlife laws that govern the conservation and protection of wildlife resources within the state. These laws are primarily enforced by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD)


Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) Title 17

ARS Title 17 encompasses a wide range of regulations concerning the conservation and management of fish and wildlife in Arizona. It addresses crucial areas such as hunting, fishing, trapping, and safeguarding specific species and habitats.


Noncompliance with the provisions outlined in Title 17 may lead to criminal repercussions, including fines and imprisonment. Additionally, civil penalties, permit suspension or revocation, and the forfeiture of hunting or fishing privileges are potential consequences for violations.

Unlawful Taking or Possession of Wildlife

Under A.R.S. § 17-309, it is illegal to unlawfully take, possess, transport, or sell wildlife in Arizona. The penalties for unlawfully taking or possessing wildlife can range from misdemeanors to felonies, depending on the specific circumstances, the value of the wildlife involved, and any previous convictions.


Penalties may include fines, imprisonment, probation, community service, and forfeiture of hunting or fishing equipment.

Endangered Species

Arizona law protects endangered and threatened species under ARS § 17-303. Violations involving the taking, harming, or destruction of protected species or their habitats can result in criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment.


Penalties for offenses against endangered species vary depending on the species involved and the severity of the violation.

wildlife crimes

Poaching and Illegal Hunting

Arizona has specific laws, such as A.R.S. § 17-309.01, to address poaching and illegal hunting activities.


Poaching offenses, such as taking wildlife out of season, exceeding bag limits, or hunting without licenses or permits, can lead to criminal charges.


Penalties for poaching and illegal hunting can include fines, imprisonment, restitution, loss of hunting privileges, and forfeiture of hunting equipment.

Habitat Destruction and Off-Road Vehicle Violations

Violations related to habitat destruction, off-road vehicle trespassing, and damage to natural resources are also addressed under Arizona's fish and wildlife laws.


Offenses involving habitat destruction or damaging sensitive areas can result in criminal charges and penalties.

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It's important to note that the specific penalties and enforcement practices may vary depending on the circumstances of each case, prior convictions, and other factors.


It is recommended to consult with an attorney familiar with Arizona's fish and wildlife laws, such as The Kolsrud Law Office, to understand the specific elements of the offenses and the applicable penalties in your jurisdiction.

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