California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife License Defense Lawyer

Protect your Department of Fish and Wildlife License

Unlock Legal represents licensees who have issues with the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
  • Was your application to the CDFW rejected (or you’re worried it will be)?
  • Are you under investigation?
  • Do you have a pending criminal matter or a criminal conviction?
  • Whatever your concern, Unlock Legal can help you. We are the experts in defending professionals and protecting their licenses.

If your license is in jeopardy for any reason, contact us immediately for a free consultation.

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Protect your Department of Fish and Wildlife License

Your right to hunt and fish in California is extremely important to you and your way of life. There are times when your ability to maintain this right can come into question. The Fish & Game Commission of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife may try to take action against you for what they allege to be a violation of state laws.
Before the government can do this, you must receive notice and have the right to be heard. They cannot simply take or suspend your license without allowing you to tell your side of the story. There is an entire process that must be followed, and you can be a full participant

CDFW License Defense Lawyer

There are numerous potential sanctions involved with allegations of breaking hunting or fishing laws. You can face monetary fines, and you can even end up with a criminal record. In addition, it could be difficult to get your license back once it has been revoked. Even a lengthy suspension can have an impact on your quality of life.
You should hire a CDFW license defense attorney if you stand accused of violating a hunting or fishing law and you are facing action against your license. There are formalized legal procedures that would allow you to have a hearing. An attorney could present the most effective defense, both to charges that you broke the law and when the state tries to take your license from you.

Department of Fish and Wildlife License Revocation

Not only can the CDFW take action to suspend or revoke your license, but a court in the state could also take your license at its own discretion if you have been convicted of a violation of state hunting or fishing laws. You would be entitled to a hearing to reinstate your license in the same court that took your license away in the first place.
If you try to obtain another hunting or fishing license in the time that your license has been suspended or revoked, you can face additional criminal charges. The court can even take away your fishing or hunting gear while your license has been suspended to keep you from further violations of the law.
Further, if you have been prohibited from taking a mammal or bird for violations of state hunting law, you would need to prove that you have the ability to pay certain damages before you can apply for another hunting license.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Investigation Defense Lawyer

The CDFW may take legal action against a license holder when they have committed a violation of the California Fish and Game Code. Here are some reasons why the DFW may take action:
  • They allege that you took an animal without a permit
  • You are accused of taking an animal that is on the endangered species list
  • You are alleged to have avoided a wildlife checkpoint
  • They allege that you violated certain catch limits
  • You are accused of using an illegal weapon to hunt
  • Fishing in protected waters or hatcheries
In one well-publicized case, singer Ted Nugent had his California hunting license suspended when he was found to have illegally baited deer.
Wardens have the right to conduct inspections, and you must comply with them. If they want to enter your boat or they want you to stop, you must comply with them. The wardens will ask to see your hunting or fishing license.
This legal action could take one (or both) of the following forms:
  • A civil penalty when the license holder has been found to violate the rules
  • The suspension or revocation of your license
Accordingly, your right to continue to hunt and fish in California could be at risk. The DFW has the burden of proof to make its case against you. However, they can try to take away your license with a lower showing than they would need to make in a criminal case. Here, they would need to show that you violated state law by a preponderance of the evidence. Legally, this means that their facts are more likely than not to be true.

CDFW Accusation Defense Attorney

You can present your own facts based on your version of what happened. Allegations of violations of hunting and fishing laws are just like any other case where you are accused of wrongdoing. It is the government that must prove that you have done something wrong. If you can present evidence and witnesses that cast doubt on the government’s story, you may be able to win your case.
A fishing and hunting license defense attorney can investigate what happened and help you build a case that can defend you from charges. Even though it is the CDFW that has the burden of proof, it often seems like you are the one who needs to prove your innocence.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Hearing Attorney

The DFW cannot deny you a license or take away the one that you already have without giving you the right to be heard. The DFW would be responsible for appointing a hearing officer, which could be one of the following:
  • a commissioner, 
  • the commission’s legal counsel, 
  • a former Executive Director of the Fish & Game Commission, 
  • A member of the State Bar of California with at least ten years of experience in the active practice of law determined to be qualified to serve as a hearing officer.
Here, an administrative law judge would listen to the evidence and the reasons why you cannot get a license, or your existing license is being challenged.
You have a right to have a license defense attorney present at the hearing representing you, and you should avail yourself of it. Your attorney can present your own case, and they can examine the witnesses who are testifying against you. Administrative hearings have many similarities with trials in court, but there are severe key differences that an attorney would know. These hearings can be slightly more informal than a court hearing, but you should still approach them as if you are going to court.
If your license is in doubt, you can most effectively be heard through a license defense attorney. Unlock Legal has represented clients in numerous cases in front of numerous hearing boards throughout California. We understand the special rules of the forum and how to effectively make a case.
If you do not obtain a favorable result in your hearing, you can take your case to Superior Court in California to appeal the ruling.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife License and Criminal Convictions

When the DFW has filed a complaint against you, there is even more at stake than your license to hunt or fish. Violations of California state fishing and hunting law are criminal in nature. You could also end up being charged with a misdemeanor. If you have been charged criminally, the prosecutor would need to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you have been convicted of three separate violations of the Fish & Game Code in a five-year span, you would automatically lose the right to take a bird or mammal in California for three years. If you violate this prohibition, your hunting license will be revoked.
Violations of state hunting and fishing laws could even come back to hurt you if you are out on parole or on probation. You have a general requirement to obey all laws while on probation. There is a chance that a conviction for breaking a hunting or fishing law could send you back to jail.
One area where your hunting license may be complicated is if you have been convicted of a felony. Then, you may not be able to own a weapon with which to hunt. Convictions on misdemeanors should not get in the way of you getting a fishing or hunting license.

CDFW Petition for Reinstatement

One area where your hunting license may be complicated is if you have been convicted of a felony. Then, you may not be able to own a weapon with which to hunt. Convictions on misdemeanors should not get in the way of you getting a fishing or hunting license.
You should hire an experienced license defense attorney to represent you at a license reinstatement hearing, especially since this hearing is more formal in nature. Your attorney would present the reasons why your license should be restored for the hearing officer to consider.

Contact a CDFW License Defense Attorney Today

The attorneys at Unlock Legal help professionals and various license holders throughout California when their license itself is in jeopardy. We have a track record of delivering successful outcomes for our clients. If you learn that you are under investigation or the DFW intends to take action against your hunting or fishing license, you need legal help today. You can contact us online or call us today at (949) 988-4444 to schedule your free initial consultation.

Professionals we have Helped