Category Archives: Wildlife violations

Common Wildlife Crimes in Texas

In Texas, wildlife and the land that our animals call home are highly protected. Many laws and regulations exist for hunting, fishing and other activities. Unfortunately, wildlife crimes are still quite common in our state. Here, we dive into the basics of these crimes, including common violations and consequences.

Common Wildlife Crimes in Texas

Many wildlife crimes are committed throughout our state each year. In some cases, these crimes are committed willingly. In other cases, these crimes are committed by individuals who simply don’t know Texas law.

Some examples of common wildlife crimes include:

  • Hunting or fishing without a license or permit
  • Lying about your information to obtain a license or permit
  • Hunting endangered species
  • Purposeful destruction of wildlife
  • Trespassing on private property to hunt or fish
  • Illegal use of a motor vehicle while hunting or fishing
  • Hunting or possession of out-of-season wildlife
  • Failure to tag game properly
  • Weapons violations

What Are the Consequences of a Wildlife Crime?

Wildlife crimes are taken seriously in Texas. There are various consequences you may be subject to if you are found guilty of a violation. For example, you may be subject to a fine or may need to pay restitution to the state.

Depending on the severity of the wildlife violation, this could cost you thousands of dollars. You may also have your fishing or hunting licenses permanently revoked.

In other severe cases, jail time isn’t off the table. For example, a felony charge may result in a fine of up to $10,000 and two years in jail.

The best way to prevent a violation is to increase your knowledge of Texas law. For example, you can check out the Texas Parks & Wildlife resources for information on the specific regulations involving wildlife.

Accused of a Wildlife Crime? Consider an Attorney.

If you’ve been accused of a wildlife crime by a game warden, conservation officer, or someone from the Department of Natural Resources, you’ll need the help of a skilled attorney. An attorney can help protect your rights in court and, in some cases, may be able to minimize the consequences.

Reach Out to Lee & Wood, LP Today

Have you been accused of a wildlife crime in Texas? We can help you. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys have years of experience working with clients just like you. To discuss your case with a qualified attorney, give us a call at 817-678-6771 or send us a message.

Is Fishing Without a License a Crime in Texas?

Is fishing without a license a crime in Texas? It’s a common question. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department publishes the many fishing rules and penalties that apply to residents and nonresidents fishing in Texas, and many sections of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Code pertain to fishing.

Under the Code, it is unlawful to fish on public water from private land without a fishing license. Fishing licenses are required of anyone who fishes in public waters in Texas, with some exceptions.

Penalties for Fishing Without a License in Texas

While fishing licenses are generally required, the penalties for fishing violations are sometimes minor. In most cases, people caught fishing without a license are fined less than $500. In those cases, it usually makes more sense to pay the fine than to hire a lawyer to fight the charges. However, it is important to pay the fine or resolve the issue. Failure to pay a fine can be considered a misdemeanor.

But, not all fishing violations are minor. The penalties can be steep when people fish for commercial purposes without a license, or when they fish rare and protected species of fish. Class B misdemeanors can lead to up to six months in jail, Class A misdemeanors can lead to up to a year in jail, and felonies can lead to up to two years in jail. Fines can also mount into the thousands of dollars.

Exceptions to the Fishing License Requirement

In some cases, you may not need a license to go fishing in Texas:

  • People under the age of 17 do not need a fishing license. The law encourages kids and teens to learn to fish at no cost.
  • Visitors to Texas State Parks can fish without a license. However, they must be within the boundary of the state park, and not all Texas parks are state parks.
  • People with intellectual disabilities may fish without a license. Fishing must be part of medically approved therapy, and the person must be accompanied by staff and carry authorization. People with intellectual disabilities can also fish under the supervision of licensed anglers who are family members or who have permission from their families to take them fishing. To do this, a doctor’s note is required.
  • People fishing on private land do not need a license. No license is required when fishing from a stock tank or other private body of water. However, if you are transporting the fish, you should carry documentation about where they came from. It is also unlawful to fish from private land into public waters without a license.

Get Legal Help After a Fishing Violation

If you have been accused of a fishing violation, call 817-678-6771 or send us a message for a confidential consultation with the Fort Worth lawyers at Lee and Wood, LP.  We have extensive experience defending people against wildlife crimes, including fishing violations.


Poaching Trophy-Sized Animals Brings Trophy-Sized Fines

In February of this year, a Montana man was sentenced to a lifetime ban on hunting in his state and every other state that is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact (IWVC). That agreement allows member states to share information about poachers.

If you were denied a hunting or fishing license in one state because you failed to comply with wildlife conservation laws, you can be denied a license in every other member state. Texas is a member of the IWVC, as are 48 other states as of 2021.

What was the Montana man’s violation? 

Poaching

Poaching is the illegal shooting or taking of game from private property or a place where hunting is forbidden. In this case, the poacher illegally killed a trophy-sized moose. 

The headless carcass of the trophy-sized moose had been found on a public road, so its full size was known when tipsters later pointed a finger at the poacher. They reported that he had trophy-sized antlers in his possession.

While many states don’t differentiate between the size of animals when deciding on poaching fines and penalties, Texas and 10 other states use the Boone and Crockett scoring system. The higher the number the animal scores, the higher the potential fines and penalties. 

The Montana “Poach and Pay” program used the Boone and Crockett scoring system to rate the antlers and horns. 

Penalties for Hunting Violations

In Texas, if you are found guilty of poaching – or any other type of hunting violation – you can face fines of $25 to $4,000. Poaching can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony in Texas. It’s a felony if it involves the taking of a big game animal. Then the fines rise from $1,500 to $10,000. 

That’s not all. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department can seek civil restitution to recover the value of that lost wildlife resource. The larger the animal, the larger your bill. 

At the end of the day, the Montana poacher was banned for life from hunting and trapping, received a 3-year suspension on his fishing privileges, a 5-year suspended prison sentence, and was ordered to pay $12,100 in fines and civil restitution. 

In Texas, he might also have to forfeit his hunting gear and the gun he used to poach wildlife. If you have had a run-in with a game warden or conservation officer and need advice about Texas hunting violations, call the Fort Worth criminal defense lawyers at Lee and Wood. We defend hunters and fishermen accused of wildlife violations. Call our law office at 817-678-6771 or contact us online

Arrested? How to Find the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer for Your Case Near Fort Worth

If you (or a loved one) have been arrested for the first time, how do you find the right criminal defense lawyer for your specific case? If you’ve never looked for a lawyer before, how do you pick one from the many lawyers available? 

This article looks at how to find the right lawyer for your kind of case, and how to find the right lawyer for you.

Where to Look for a Lawyer

Often people start their search for a lawyer by asking for a lawyer referral from friends and family. With a criminal case, that can feel awkward unless you’ve been arrested for something relatively common, like drunk driving. Even then, you may prefer the privacy of finding a lawyer online. 

How to Find a Lawyer Online

There are hundreds of lawyers in your area. To narrow your search, use several words in your online search query.  

Include the name of the town or the county where you have been arrested or where you will be going to court. It is usually helpful to work with a lawyer who has experience with local judges, prosecutors, and court personnel. They may have a better understanding of how a judge operates, how the prosecutor negotiates, and alternative sentencing options available in that jurisdiction.

That doesn’t mean the lawyer has to be officed in your exact town. Some people prefer to work with a criminal defense lawyer who doesn’t live in their town. Most criminal lawyers take cases in several nearby jurisdictions. They regularly work in several courts. 

Include the kind of lawyer you want. For most state-level criminal charges, you can just include the words criminal defense lawyer. If you are facing federal charges, search for a federal criminal defense attorney. If the accused is aged 17 or under, search for a juvenile defense lawyer. Fewer lawyers focus on juvenile crimes or federal crimes so this will narrow your search results. 

Include the type of criminal charge you need defense against. If you know the specific charge against you, type that in, but it’s usually sufficient to type in a general crime, like drug charges rather than possession of THC oil

Sometimes you do want to be very specific about the crime.

Find The Best Defense Attorney for You

Once you’ve found a few lawyers with experience in your kind of criminal case, now it’s time to determine if they are a good fit for you. You can do this in two ways:

On their website, review the About Us page to learn more about the law firm, and click on the specific attorney profiles. Their biography may tell you what courts they operate in. It will include additional certifications they have received, and honors and awards. You may find they are involved in the community in ways that connect with you. 

Some websites have testimonials, either on a page or other places on the website. Do you see anything about how they work with clients? 

Now you are ready to call and talk to one or more lawyers who seem like the best fit. You want to see if you feel comfortable with this person. You want a sense of how they handle a case like yours. 

REMEMBER, you haven’t hired this person yet so don’t share specifics of your case. 

You can ask questions like: 

  • Have you taken cases to trial in this county or city court?
  • Have you handled similar cases to mine? 
  • What do you consider a successful outcome?
  • What has been your success rate? 
  • How do you work with clients? 
  • Would you handle my case personally? 
  • What are your fees?

Call an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

At Lee and Wood, LP, we understand the fears and uncertainty of being arrested for the first time. We explain the criminal justice process, what you can expect, and how we can help. We represent clients in Weatherford, Fort Worth, Burleson, and Cleburne. Call our Fort Worth law office at 817-678-6771 or contact us online

Arrested? How to Find the Best Fort Worth Criminal Defense Lawyer for Your Case

If you (or a loved one) have been arrested for the first time, how do you find the right criminal defense lawyer for your specific case? If you’ve never looked for a lawyer before, how do you pick one from the many lawyers available? 

This article looks at how to find the right lawyer for your kind of case, and how to find the right lawyer for you.

Where to Look for a Lawyer

Often people start their search for a lawyer by asking for a lawyer referral from friends and family. With a criminal case, that can feel awkward unless you’ve been arrested for something relatively common, like drunk driving. Even then, you may prefer the privacy of finding a lawyer online. 

How to Find a Lawyer Online

There are hundreds of lawyers in your area. To narrow your search, use several words in your online search query.  

Include the name of the town or the county where you have been arrested or where you will be going to court. It is usually helpful to work with a lawyer who has experience with local judges, prosecutors, and court personnel. They may have a better understanding of how a judge operates, how the prosecutor negotiates, and alternative sentencing options available in that jurisdiction.

That doesn’t mean the lawyer has to be officed in your exact town. Some people prefer to work with a criminal defense lawyer doesn’t live in their town. Most criminal lawyers take cases in several nearby jurisdictions. They regularly work in several courts. 

Include the kind of lawyer you want. For most state-level criminal charges, you can just include the words criminal defense lawyer. If you are facing federal charges, search for a federal criminal defense attorney. If the accused is aged 17 or under, search for a juvenile defense lawyer. Fewer lawyers focus on juvenile crimes or federal crimes so this will narrow your search results. 

Include the type of criminal charge you need defense against. If you know the specific charge against you, type that in, but it’s usually sufficient to type in a general crime, like drug charges rather than possession of THC oil

Sometimes you do want to be very specific about the crime.

Find The Best Defense Attorney for You

Once you’ve found a few lawyers with experience in your kind of criminal case, now it’s time to determine if they are a good fit for you. You can do this in two ways:

On their website, review the About Us page to learn more about the law firm, and click on the specific attorney profiles. Their biography may tell you what courts they operate in. It will include additional certifications they have received, and honors and awards. You may find they are involved in the community in ways that connect with you. 

Some websites have testimonials, either on a page or other places on the website. Do you see anything about how they work with clients? 

Now you are ready to call and talk to one or more lawyers who seem like the best fit. You want to see if you feel comfortable with this person. You want a sense of how they handle a case like yours. 

REMEMBER, you haven’t hired this person yet so don’t share specifics of your case. 

You can ask questions like: 

  • Have you taken cases to trial in this county or city court?
  • Have you handled similar cases to mine? 
  • What do you consider a successful outcome?
  • What has been your success rate? 
  • How do you work with clients? 
  • Would you handle my case personally? 
  • What are your fees?

Call an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

At Lee and Wood, LP, we understand the fears and uncertainty of being arrested for the first time. We explain the criminal justice process, what you can expect, and how we can help. We represent clients in Weatherford, Fort Worth, Burleson, and Cleburne. Call our Fort Worth law office at 817-678-6771 or contact us online

Wildlife Violations: Texas Teens Cited for Taking Alligator Out of Season

Recently, three Texas teenagers were given a citation by a game warden for “taking” a 7-foot alligator in closed season. They caught the wild alligator at a popular fishing spot in Orange County and, according to news reports, after catching the animal they tried to enlist the help of another person to kill it.

The animal wasn’t killed. Instead, it was taken into custody by a nuisance control hunter. 

It was probably the thrill of a lifetime for these youngsters to capture such a dangerous wild animal. While not an endangered species in Texas, an alligator isn’t the kind of critter you come across every day so it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that they didn’t know the regulations for hunting alligator in TX.  

They probably didn’t even think they were hunting an alligator – until they were cited for a Texas hunting violation. After all, the alligator was just there in the fishing spot being a nuisance. 

TX Hunting Violations for Alligators

Some people are specifically tasked with handled “nuisance” alligators. They have a nuisance alligator control permit issued by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. And alligator hunting regulations say that if a person doesn’t have such a permit they may not “take, kill, transport, sell, or release a nuisance alligator, or offer to take, kill, transport, sell, or release a nuisance alligator.”  

State regulations say no one can hunt an alligator in the State of Texas unless they have a valid hunting license and a valid, unused alligator hide tag in their possession. A lot of private homeowners may not know these alligator hunting regulations and could run into trouble if they believe they can take immediate action against alligators on their private property. 

There are a number of other ways one can run afoul of alligator hunting regulations, such as: 

  • “Taking” more alligators than are allowed,
  • “Hunting” alligators out of season (some counties allow hunting in spring, some in fall), or at the wrong time of day,
  • Using the wrong kind of snare or weapon, and 
  • Failing to file a report.

If you or your son or daughter has received a wildlife citation for intentionally or unintentionally killing or ensnaring an alligator, call the criminal defense attorneys at Lee and Wood, LP: 817-678-6771 or contact us online. We handle all types of hunting and fishing violations in communities all across the state of Texas.