Photo of Richard Ansara - Attorney at Law
Call 24/7 at (954) 761-4011
Richard Ansara Attorney at Law

FWC Level One Violations

If you are cited for an FWC Level 1 violation, a Broward defense lawyer can advocate for you during administrative court proceedings. We’ll fight to protect your licenses/permits, reputation, and permanent record. 

Although FWC Level 1 violations are on the lowest rung in terms of seriousness, you could still be facing possible jail time, substantial fines, and loss of your licenses/permits to fish, hunt, or boat. This is especially true if you don’t respond timely and appropriately. 

A lot of people cited for FWC Level 1 violations in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties simply pay the fine - failing to understand that this is the same thing as an admission of guilt. It’s almost impossible to challenge once that action is taken. In addition to the immediate consequences, that violation is now on a permanent, public record - and will make any subsequent violations far more serious. 

Before you simply pay the fine for a Level 1 FWC violation, consult with a Broward criminal defense attorney to inquire if there is a viable defense strategy that could spare you substantial, long-term impacts. 

What is the FWC?

FWC is short for “The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.” The FWC is entrusted with duties focused on protecting the state’s wildlife and environment by enforcing various rules and regulations, as outlined in Chapter 379 of Florida Statutes

The agency started in the 1960s with a small group of biologists and a few field technicians conducting focused research on Florida game species. It expanded to include research of all fish, fowl, game, and wildlife within the “Bureau of Wildlife Research” and the “Bureau of Wildlife Diversity Conservation Commission” (aka “Bureau of Wildlife Resources”). The FWC was formally established in 1999, with broader powers to include enforcement of environmental protection laws.

Today, the FWC is responsible for administering various conservation trust funds, as well as issuing licenses for recreational and commercial activities, and research, management, and law enforcement concerning Florida’s plants, animals, ecosystems, and natural resources. 

FWC has numerous interdepartmental divisions (research, land management, outreach, and law enforcement). It also partners with other state and federal agencies and public stakeholders - including police departments and sheriff offices. 

The FWC Division of Law Enforcement is one of its largest, with over 1,000 employees. FWC patrol efforts are based on the agency’s core missions of resource protection, environmental protection, safe boating and waterways, and public safety. FWC officers often share intelligence, security support, and general law enforcement services with other state, county, and local police authorities. 

Examples of Level 1 FWC Violations

Level 1 FWC violations are spelled out in F.S. 379.401 and F.S. 379.4015. They include:

  • FWC rules/orders relating to the filing of reports or other documents required for recreational licenses and permits or any FWC alligator licenses/permits.
  • FWC rules/orders relating to quota hunt permits, daily use permits, hunting zone violations, camping, alcohol, vehicles, and vehicles in wildlife management areas. 
  • FWC rules/orders relating to daily use permits, alcohol, swimming, firearm possession, operating vehicles, and watercraft speed in wildlife management areas. 
  • FWC rules/orders relating to vessel size or specifying motor restrictions on certain bodies of water. 
  • FWC rules/orders requiring the return of unused CITES tags issued under the state’s alligator harvest program or nuisance alligator program. 
  • Deer hunting without wearing the right clothing, as outlined in F.S. 379.3003.
  • Hunting, fishing, or trapping without the proper recreational license from the state, as outlined in F.S. 379.354.
  • Hunting with a firearm, gun, bow, or crossbow without successfully completing the hunter safety course and/or having in their personal possession a hunter safety certification card, as outlined in F.S. 379.3581.
  • FWC rules/orders requiring free permits/other authorizations to possess captive wildlife.
  • FWC rules/orders relating to filing reports or other records required of people licensed to possess captive wildlife.
  • FWC rules/orders requiring permits to possess captive wildlife for which a fee is charged when that person has a permit but the permit expired less than 1 year before the violation.

Level 1 FWC violations are generally considered non-criminal infractions, which are typically fined somewhere between $50 and $500 (depending on the offense and whether you have any priors) plus the cost of the license or permit (if the offense involved acting without one when required) and court costs. 

Common offenses included possession of alcohol in wildlife management areas, illegal camping, illegal swimming, not wearing the proper clothing during hunting, possession of firearms in fish management areas, failure to complete hunter safety course requirements. 

If you refuse to accept or sign a citation, don’t pay it on time, or fail to appear before a county court as required, you can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, a criminal offense carrying a penalty of up to 60 days in jail. 

Also, the FWC has the authority to suspend or revoke any license or permit under any of these provisions, and it can also impose additional penalties of up to $500 for each violation and/or $5,000 for each animal (up to $10,000). 

The reward for reporting someone on an FWC Level I violation (leading to a citation) is $100. Commonly reported Level I FWC violations are hunting/fishing/trapping without a license, no quota permit or hunting zone assignment violations, possession of captive wildlife without a permit, and litter law violations under F.S. 403.413.

You can choose one of the following courses of action upon receiving a Level One violation are:

  • Pay the fine and, if it applies, provide proof of the license or permit required within 30 days. 
  • Represent yourself in county court.
  • Hire a defense attorney who will appear on your behalf.

If you pay the ticket, you do not have to show up in court. However, that violation will remain on your record and can be used to enhance penalties of any subsequent offenses. Remember that “just paying the fine” is an admission of guilt - and it’s incontestable once paid. Before doing so, talk to a Broward defense attorney to see what your legal rights are and determine whether it would be beneficial for you to challenge the citation in a formal hearing.

If you have been arrested in South Florida for an FWC violation, call The Ansara Law Firm in Fort Lauderdale today for your free initial consultation at (954) 761-4011.

Client Reviews
“Just wanted to say what a professional law firm "The Ansara Law Firm" was in handling my case and can't thank Richard enough for keeping me calm and letting me know the status of my case. You really do care about your clients and made me feel at ease during my legal issues!” Andy Austin
"Richard was thorough, patient and went above and beyond to make a hard time for my family a little more bearable. I pray we never need a criminal defense attorney again, but if we do, there is NO doubt who we're going to!" Amy
"I had a dui case and Mr. Ansara made it go as smooth as possible. He was able to time everything so I could get a new company up and running without the dui effecting my ability to drive." Sean
"I have been a client of Richard Ansara for several years now, I am pleased with his outcomes on all my cases, patience, professionalism and courteousness when I come into his office. I would definitely recommend Ansara's Law Firm to friends and family for any of their future legal needs." Emily Gutierrez