Charged With Hunting Over Bait

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Replies

  • Derek-RDerek-R Posts: 44 Deckhand
    Since this is a public forum, the first thing any sane attorney ought to say, and first thing I personallythink of would be "shut up". Anything the OP says on here can be used against him by the state.
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    why do you think the OP came here to begin with... establishing his innocence
  • awayaway Posts: 328 Deckhand
    RexLan wrote: »
    If your theory is correct then every offense is a first offense ... if you just pay the costs and fees ..... I don't think this is accurate.

    It also seems as though OP has lost interest in his own thread .... curious.

    It is 100% accurate. I believe he said the state called it "silent adjudication" or something like that. Nothing on his record. Paid court costs and other fees.
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 2,613 Captain
    away wrote: »
    It is 100% accurate. I believe he said the state called it "silent adjudication" or something like that. Nothing on his record. Paid court costs and other fees.

    No, that is not accurate. If you are convicted either through plea or trial, it goes on your record. There are early disposition programs the state can offer in which you pay a fine and they drop the charges, but that's the state's prerogative to either offer that or not.

    A plea to a wildlife violation can have long lasting effects on your hunting privileges as well as the weapon you used in the offense. The OP needs to talk to find an attorney who can advise him about such.
  • If_it_flies_it_diesIf_it_flies_it_dies Posts: 1,133 Officer
    Several years ago I went fishing 30 miles offshore with some buddies, and all we were catching were sharpnose sharks. We kept our limit (1 per person 4 total) and were stopped at the dock and checked. I got a ticket because the officer said the limit was 2 per vessel. I didn't argue, he was in a bad mood from catching my buddy taking a leak by a dumpster as he pulled up. (We all have a buddy like that right?) He took two sharks and sent me on my way. Now, I was sure the limit was one per person and double checked when I got home. Long story short the regulation was 2 in state waters and 4 in federal (where we were). I took it to court and was offered no adjudication as a plea deal for paying my fines. I politely declined and took it to trial. I printed off the regulations as well as brought photos of the remaining sharks as evidence. The officer didn't show, and the prosecuting attorney stated in his opening statement, "upon further investigation the state is unable to locate the statute involved in this case ." (whatever that means) They dropped the charges. I never got to defend myself and was even a little bummed out, I was pretty excited to represent myself. I knew they couldn't prove I was in state waters because I wasn't. I was innocent and had no fear of being convicted. Now, if I had been in the wrong, the deal would have been the way to go I suppose. I guess my point is, that "no adjudication" is real or at least was.
  • If_it_flies_it_diesIf_it_flies_it_dies Posts: 1,133 Officer
    Here's the definition, I guess my terms were paying the fines.

    Withheld adjudication generally refers to a decision by a judge to put a person on probation without an adjudication of guilt. It means a person is not found guilty legally by the court. If the person successfully completes the terms of probation and has no subsequent offenses, no further action with be taken on the case and the offense for which adjudication was withheld is typically not considered a prior conviction for purposes of habitual offender sentencing. If the person does not complete the terms of probation, a finding of guilty may be entered and the person may be sentenced according to the punishments defined for the offense.
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 2,613 Captain
    Here's the definition, I guess my terms were paying the fines.

    Withheld adjudication generally refers to a decision by a judge to put a person on probation without an adjudication of guilt. It means a person is not found guilty legally by the court. If the person successfully completes the terms of probation and has no subsequent offenses, no further action with be taken on the case and the offense for which adjudication was withheld is typically not considered a prior conviction for purposes of habitual offender sentencing. If the person does not complete the terms of probation, a finding of guilty may be entered and the person may be sentenced according to the punishments defined for the offense.

    Withhold of adjudication doesn't stop the offense from being put on your record. You are still "found guilty" for sentencing purposes, and you will in fact either be pleading guilty or no contest. It simply stops some automatic penalties from being put in place that go along with being adjudicated. For example, if you are adjudicated guilty for a felony, you lose your firearm rights and voting privileges. If adjudication of guilt is withheld on a felony, you still have the felony on your record, you just don't necessarily lose your voting or gun rights (although you can still lose your gun rights for some offenses, like any crime related to a domestic violence offense). The charges do not "get dropped" just because adjudication is withheld, even if you successfully complete your probation. A withhold of adjudication also stops that offense from being used to impeach you if you testify later in another case.

    Also, understand that you don't get an offer to withhold adjudication just because its your first offense. The prosecutor may offer it, and the judge may accept it or even sentence it on his own initiative in some circumstances, but it is not automatic.

    Never presume you're going to win just because you think you're in the right. That has little to do with how things end up in court.

    This is why anyone who gets caught in this situation needs to find a good attorney and not navigate it on your own. Most people who try to learn it own their own learn just enough to be dangerous to themselves.

    If it flies... understand that in your circumstance you got lucky because the LEO didn't show. Its unheard of for an arresting LEO to not show up to a criminal trial. I would have got him fired it that happened to me as the prosecuting attorney. Civil tickets, on the other hand, routinely have LEOs who do not show up. Civil tickets and criminal charges are not one and the same. In a criminal case the state can't proceed without the LEO. With the LEO present, its your word vs. the LEOs, and guess you usually wins that peeing match? NEVER, EVER presume that just because you know you're innocent, you won't get convicted.
  • bgeorgebgeorge Plant City FLPosts: 1,634 Captain
    In the alligator world adjudication withheld is as good as guilty to keep you from participating for five years. You need the not guilty. Not direct reference but important for people to know.
    The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. Hopefully the next man is not dropping his stones on the mountain you are trying to move.
  • LMCGATORLMCGATOR Posts: 14 Greenhorn
    Brandon Rafool, Esq. in Winter Haven 863-521-2001 is a very skilled criminal defense attorney. He is an avid outdoorsman, knows the ropes and would represent you very competently.
  • If_it_flies_it_diesIf_it_flies_it_dies Posts: 1,133 Officer
    Frog- I'm sorry but in a criminal case everything needs to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. That's difficult to do if you are innocent, with zero physical evidence otherwise. I would have played it the same way again today.
  • navigator2navigator2 Posts: 22,472 AG
    Withhold of adjudication doesn't stop the offense from being put on your record. You are still "found guilty" for sentencing purposes, and you will in fact either be pleading guilty or no contest. It simply stops some automatic penalties from being put in place that go along with being adjudicated. For example, if you are adjudicated guilty for a felony, you lose your firearm rights and voting privileges. If adjudication of guilt is withheld on a felony, you still have the felony on your record, you just don't necessarily lose your voting or gun rights (although you can still lose your gun rights for some offenses, like any crime related to a domestic violence offense). The charges do not "get dropped" just because adjudication is withheld, even if you successfully complete your probation. A withhold of adjudication also stops that offense from being used to impeach you if you testify later in another case.

    Also, understand that you don't get an offer to withhold adjudication just because its your first offense. The prosecutor may offer it, and the judge may accept it or even sentence it on his own initiative in some circumstances, but it is not automatic.

    Never presume you're going to win just because you think you're in the right. That has little to do with how things end up in court.

    This is why anyone who gets caught in this situation needs to find a good attorney and not navigate it on your own. Most people who try to learn it own their own learn just enough to be dangerous to themselves.

    If it flies... understand that in your circumstance you got lucky because the LEO didn't show. Its unheard of for an arresting LEO to not show up to a criminal trial. I would have got him fired it that happened to me as the prosecuting attorney. Civil tickets, on the other hand, routinely have LEOs who do not show up. Civil tickets and criminal charges are not one and the same. In a criminal case the state can't proceed without the LEO. With the LEO present, its your word vs. the LEOs, and guess you usually wins that peeing match? NEVER, EVER presume that just because you know you're innocent, you won't get convicted.

    Ocala huh? I'm sorry, Mr Dean would call you an idiot. :grin
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 2,613 Captain
    navigator2 wrote: »
    Ocala huh? I'm sorry, Mr Dean would call you an idiot. :grin

    What does that mean? Do you mean Ed Dean, the former sheriff? Why would he call me an idiot?
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 2,613 Captain
    Frog- I'm sorry but in a criminal case everything needs to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. That's difficult to do if you are innocent, with zero physical evidence otherwise. I would have played it the same way again today.

    Let me give you an example. You said you brought in evidence to use for your trial. What witnesses were you going to call to enter those exhibits into evidence? Do you know what questions you have to ask before different kinds of evidence can be entered in? What questions do you have to ask before you can enter a photograph? Can you answer those questions?

    Here's the problem. If you don't know how to get your evidence in, or if you don't do it just right, the prosecutor can keep your evidence out. Then its just your word vs. the LEO. What if the LEO lies? What if the judge or jury has to decide between your word and the word of a lying LEO, where your evidence gets shut out because you don't have the right witnesses and/or questions get your evidence in and show the lie?

    You might get lucky. Or you might get screwed. Its a big risk to take. And its your decision to make. People just need to be properly informed before they make the decision.
  • navigator2navigator2 Posts: 22,472 AG
    What does that mean? Do you mean Ed Dean, the former sheriff? Why would he call me an idiot?

    No. Your uncle Mikey. AAL. :grin
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 2,613 Captain
    navigator2 wrote: »
    No. Your uncle Mikey. AAL. :grin

    Maybe I am an idiot, because I'm still not following. There's a Mike Dean who is a personal injury attorney in Ocala. He doesn't do criminal cases though as far as I know and I don't know the man personally.
  • Walker DogWalker Dog Posts: 2,155 Captain
    FloridaOD wrote: »
    recalcitrant lease members who just don't think that the "No Feeder" rule during wide ranging Turkey Season worth foolin' with.

    This isn't accurate.

    Although it's illegal to hunt turkeys over bait (as defined in the law), there isn't a legally required "No Feeder" rule during any turkey season. Some clubs have an internal policy to stop feeding right before turkey season, in an attempt to avoid having issues with people intentionally or unintentionally hunting turkeys over bait. Their policy may be well intended but, it will result in violations in September and October, if people hunt deer over feeders on those same properties. The 6 month requirement makes it illegal to hunt deer over a feeder at the start of archery season, if that feeding site wasn't already being maintained during turkey season.

    A shorter maintenance requirement would avoid this for a lot of people. Even with a 4 month rule, if a person gets on a new property in June, as often happens, and they activate a feeding site at that time, they couldn't legally hunt deer within 100 yds of their feeding site until October. There was talk among FWC staff of changing the 6 month requirement not too long ago, but it seems to have died down. I think it would be a good topic to re-visit. I believe that having a measureable maintenance time before it's legal to hunt resident game over a feeding site is a good rule, but I'm not so sure 6 months is a well reasoned length of time, mainly because of the issues it can cause with spring turkey hunting and with people who are moving to new properties in the middle of summer.
  • awayaway Posts: 328 Deckhand
    No, that is not accurate. If you are convicted either through plea or trial, it goes on your record. There are early disposition programs the state can offer in which you pay a fine and they drop the charges, but that's the state's prerogative to either offer that or not.

    A plea to a wildlife violation can have long lasting effects on your hunting privileges as well as the weapon you used in the offense. The OP needs to talk to find an attorney who can advise him about such.

    I don't know what to tell you. He received the notice to appear, showed up and plead no contest, paid his $300 fine and walked out with nothing on his record.

    I would imagine if he had a game and fish violation on his record prior to this incident the outcome would not have been the same.
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 2,613 Captain
    away wrote: »
    I don't know what to tell you. He received the notice to appear, showed up and plead no contest, paid his $300 fine and walked out with nothing on his record.

    I would imagine if he had a game and fish violation on his record prior to this incident the outcome would not have been the same.

    Like I said in a previous post, there are early disposition programs such as pretrial intervention that the state may offer that involves paying a fine or community service in exchange for dropping the charges. However, that's 100% within the state attorney office's discretion to offer it or not. Its not something a person is entitled to by right just because he or she has a first offense. It would be dangerous for anyone to assume that a first offense won't go on their record just because its a first offense and a low level crime. The only reason it wouldn't go on someone's record would be if the prosecutor dropped the charges at some point and only the prosecutor can decide whether to drop the charges or not. A "withhold of adjudication" is not the same as dropping the charges and would still go on a person's record.
  • RexLanRexLan Posts: 868 Officer
    away wrote: »
    I don't know what to tell you. He received the notice to appear, showed up and plead no contest, paid his $300 fine and walked out with nothing on his record.

    I would imagine if he had a game and fish violation on his record prior to this incident the outcome would not have been the same.

    No contest is same as guilty.
    Got fined, paid and case closed.
    He now has that on his record as a game violation.
    Port Charlotte, Florida
  • awayaway Posts: 328 Deckhand
    RexLan wrote: »
    No contest is same as guilty.
    Got fined, paid and case closed.
    He now has that on his record as a game violation.

    Nope, not on his record. He appeared before the judge, they asked for a plea which he entered no contest. Then, based on what Bullfrog is saying, it sounds as though the state recommended a "pre-trial intervention" which resulted in $300 worth of fines, case closed. Nothing on his record.

    My original point to the OP was just that it may be more cost effective to go this route if this is typical. The way the law is written doesn't leave much to argue if you were in fact hunting within 100 yards of corn.
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 2,613 Captain
    away wrote: »
    I don't know what to tell you. He received the notice to appear, showed up and plead no contest, paid his $300 fine and walked out with nothing on his record.

    I would imagine if he had a game and fish violation on his record prior to this incident the outcome would not have been the same.

    Sometimes in pretrial diversion programs the defendant must enter a plea first and sentencing is deferred (it depends on the policy of the prosecutor or the judge whether a plea up front is required). If the pretrial diversion conditions are met (such as a fine or completion of a class), then the defendant is allowed to withdraw his guilty plea and the charges are subsequently dropped. The reason it doesn't go on his record is because the defendant's plea is withdrawn later and the charges are dropped. Note that is not the same as a suspended sentenced. Often in 2MM first offense cases, defendants plead guilty or no contest and are given suspended jail sentences that will not go into effect if the person pays a fine within a certain number of days. However, in those cases, the offense still stands even if the fine is paid and it still goes on the person's record.

    For example, suppose Susie Q gets a notice to appear for having 58 bream in her possession out on Muddy Pond when checked by Officer Dudley. Susie Q knows she purposely caught too many bream and there was no one else with her in the boat to claim the excess bream. She doesn't have a good defense. This is her first criminal offense ever. Its a level 2 wildlife violation, making it a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

    When she appears at her arraignment a couple of weeks later, the prosecutor sees her and feels sorry for her, as he can tell she's never been in trouble before and looks kind of pathetic. He pulls her file and confirms she's never been in trouble before. He also sees that she's just there for a fishing violation and the prosecutor doesn't really care about wildlife violations. They seem like a waste of time to him. He then might walk over to the public defender (who's there as standby in case the public defender is appointed to anyone'e case at arraignment) and tell the PD to let that woman know that he'll offer her a pretrial diversion program where if she'll pay a $50 fine and her court costs (totally all around or just under $300), he'll drop the charges. However, this judge has a personal policy that she will have to offer her plea guilty first and then he will let her withdraw it later if the state wants to drop the charges. Therefore she signs a PTI contract, pleads guilty, sentencing is deferred, she pays the fine the next day, withdraws her plea, and the charges get dropped.

    Take the same case facts, but vary some background facts from within the courtroom. The prosecutor had Officer Dudley put heat on him for dropping several of his wildlife cases last year (they were weak cases but the prosecutor couldn't convince Dudley of that). He knows that Officer Dudley, and this particular set of FWC officers as a whole in this county, throws a fit whenever their cases get put into PTI programs. It might even be that this prosecutor himself disfavors PTI and only offers it on occasion because he's forced to in order to lighten his case load. It could even be that the judge doesn't like PTI because he feels it takes the case out of his sphere of authority and the prosecutor only reserves it for the rarest of cases. Therefore the prosecutor rules out PTI right off the bat for this woman on this wildlife violation and doesn't offer it to her. Instead, he offers her a suspended sentence where she will pay a $50 fine plus court costs (same penalty as in the first scenario). She pleas guilty/no contest at arraignment, and the judge gives her 10 days to pay everything, or else she must go to jail for 30 days. She pays everything immediately and the case is then over.

    The difference between scenario 1 and 2 is that in scenario one, her charges got dropped and won't go on her record. In scenario 2, it will still go on her record. The only difference between the two scenarios was not the law, her record, her fines, or the facts of her case, but the discretion of the prosecutor and the stances of other actors involved in her case.

    Your friend may have received a form of PTI. However, if he pled guilty/no contest and was sentenced, and did not get a PTI program, and it was in fact a criminal case and not a civil case, I highly doubt it didn't go on his record. He may think it didn't, but it probably did. Often lay people misunderstand the terms of their sentence or the legal ramifications of what's going on in their case. That's why attorneys have a tricky job explaining what's going on. If the attorney speaks in too much "legalese" a lay person can't follow it. Yet if the attorney dumbs it down too much to make it simple to follow, something is lost in translation and the "simple" version ends up misstating it. For example, a lay person who received a withhold of adjudication could here someone say "a withhold of adjudication doesn't count as a conviction" and from that extrapolate they don't have the offense on their record, when in fact they do and that the statement they heard is an oversimplification that applies to some aspects of having the offense of their record but not other aspects.

    For anyone curious to check, a person can usually go to the clerk office website for their county and pull a court docket of their case up and it will show what happened with the case.
  • awayaway Posts: 328 Deckhand
    I don't know enough of the details but this sounds in line with what he has described. When we have looked up his record, it's not there. So whatever action was taken by the court resulted in the fine and no record.

    Again, my point was just that the cost of hiring a lawyer may far exceed the actual "penalty", which in this case, was not much.
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 2,613 Captain
    So again, these reasons are why I am stressing that a person who gets in trouble needs to talk to an attorney about their case. Don't even take my word for it here, as I'm not giving out legal advise, I'm simply talking about my experiences and generalities about the law. A defendant needs someone who can evaluate all of the nitty gritty of their particular case and tailor the advice to fit them personally. Its vary hard for a person not trained in the law to correctly take snippets they read on the internet and correctly apply them in their particular case. They may think that they are applying it correctly, but it often blows up in their face in court.

    I don't have anything to gain by advocating someone use an attorney. I don't handle criminal cases in my practice. I was a prosecutor for too long, I'd have a hard time looking LEOs in the eye who I worked with for years to tear their cases apart.
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 2,613 Captain
    away wrote: »
    Again, my point was just that the cost of hiring a lawyer may far exceed the actual "penalty", which in this case, was not much.

    I hear ya, and that can be true in terms of monetary penalties. My overall point is that there are penalties that go beyond monetary penalties that a person may not be aware of when they plea. There can also be legal defenses that a regular person wouldn't know about that could apply to the case. That's where an attorney comes in. A person has to make an informed decision to represent his or herself.
  • huntmstrhuntmstr Posts: 6,290 Admiral
    A person has to make an informed decision to represent his or herself.

    Correction: A person SHOULD make an informed decision to represent his or herself. However those who represent themselves in serious matters seldom do. Hence the old addage, "An attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client."
    Bushnell, Primos and Final Approach Pro Staff. Proud member of the Fab Five, Big Leaugers and Bobble Head 4.

    I had you pissed off at hello.
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 2,613 Captain
    huntmstr wrote: »
    Correction: A person SHOULD make an informed decision to represent his or herself. However those who represent themselves in serious matters seldom do. Hence the old addage, "An attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client."

    Agreed.
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 2,613 Captain
    When we have looked up his record, it's not there.

    Just as a minor side-point, his arrest and case should still be on record, even if it got dropped. The fact that you've been arrested never gets erased unless you go through the steps of getting your record expunged. A notice to appear counts as an arrest for legal purposes. Absent expungement, the clerk should still have a closed case file on record that shows what happened to the case unless the case is so old that the physical file got destroyed and it came from an era before files were electronically indexed.

    Law enforcement will always have a record of a person's arrest. The feds keep a database called NCIC and Florida keeps one called FCIC, both of which the state uses to see basically everything you've ever been arrested for whether you were convicted, acquitted, or the charged were dropped, again unless expungement happens. The databases can be inaccurate, but the point is, whatever you get arrested for, it floats around out there somewhere.
  • GulfHammockHunterGulfHammockHunter Posts: 47 Deckhand
    Bullfrog,

    Should I get my open container at a gator game expunged? It was like 15-20 years ago.

    I paid a fine and never went to court. But darn it, it is my only blip on the radar. I was just given a ticket.
    Kind of ticks me off really. I have no idea who to talk to about this. Sounds like it may not matter unless I want to run for office. Even then all it takes is one LEO on NCIC.


    Also has anyone ever been cited for hunting 100+ yards away from a corn pile or feeder?? I have been in clubs where they spread corn before the season to "bring them in". I always got 100 yards off the road. I am big on following the letter of the law but I guess even in this case if a warden was having a bad day...........
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 2,613 Captain
    Bullfrog,

    Should I get my open container at a gator game expunged? It was like 15-20 years ago.

    I paid a fine and never went to court. But darn it, it is my only blip on the radar. I was just given a ticket.
    Kind of ticks me off really. I have no idea who to talk to about this. Sounds like it may not matter unless I want to run for office. Even then all it takes is one LEO on NCIC.


    Also has anyone ever been cited for hunting 100+ yards away from a corn pile or feeder?? I have been in clubs where they spread corn before the season to "bring them in". I always got 100 yards off the road. I am big on following the letter of the law but I guess even in this case if a warden was having a bad day...........

    Hi Gulfhammockhunter,

    I can't give you any legal advice, as I don't do criminal in my practice. I know that area of law well, but for both personal and practical reasons I avoid it. What I can say is that there is an expungement process out there that allows people to expunge their records if they meet the criteria under the statute. The statutes that govern expungment include 943.0585, 943.059, and Chapter 11C-7 of the Florida administrative code, with 943.0585 being the primary statute that lays out the requirements and steps. There's also an FDLE page for it I'll copy and paste here:
    http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Content/getdoc/c83dd888-ef7a-448e-9a96-ba69fc4181f7/Seal-and-Expunge-Home.aspx

    The moment I render an opinion as to whether you would qualify or not, that becomes legal advice. However, I can generally point you in the direction of the statutes without it being considered legal advice and you can look them over and make a decision whether you want to sit down with an attorney to work through the process. If you decide to attempt expungment, you're better off going through an attorney as its a complicated procedure. I'd look for an attorney that would give you a free consultation as to whether you qualify or not, as you're just wasting your time if you don't qualify. For example, most sex offenders can't get their records expunged and they're just wasting their time trying.
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