Have you ever gotten a notice of hearing after a wildlife violation?
Documents like the notice of hearing are designed to give you all the information you need in one place. This sounds convenient, yet they often use language that can be tricky to understand.
Jeff Weeden is a criminal defense attorney in the Denver area, representing clients in wildlife and fishery violations. If you’ve found yourself in a position where there’s a chance the state could suspend your license, we’re going to break down your notice of hearing. We’ll also talk about how the Wildlife and Parks Commission can suspend your license, and how you can prevent it.
When Will Parks and Wildlife Suspend a Hunting and Fishing License in Colorado?
So, the state of Colorado can suspend your hunting and fishing privileges after you receive 20 points on your license in five years.
If a court convicts you of a crime you committed while hunting or fishing, you will automatically receive a notice of hearing.
What Are Points On Your Hunting and Fishing License?
Every new hunter starts with 0 points on their hunting and fishing licenses.
If you receive a conviction or if you plead guilty to a wildlife violation, Parks and Wildlife will add points to your license. They will add these points to your license in addition to any fines you might pay. Wildlife violations are generally crimes you commit while hunting and fishing.
For example, if you trespass on private property while hunting or fishing, you will pay a $100 fine, and get 20 points on your license.
The number of points you get per violation depends on the violation.
Other 20-point violations include hunting under the influence of drugs or alcohol, hunting with night vision or thermal imaging devices, or willful destruction of wildlife. Things like wasting edible wildlife are 15 point violations. The use of wildlife as bait is a 10-point offense.
As we said, if you accumulate 20 points within five years, you will receive a notice of hearing.
What Is Your Notice of Hearing Actually Trying To Tell You?
Most of the beginning of the notice of hearing will simply be confirming things you already know.
This part of the document will confirm when the violation happened, the officer who started this whole process, and a description of the violation itself.
The rest of the document is the body of the notice of hearing.
The Body of the Notice of Hearing
After confirming those facts, the notice of hearing will say something like this:
“You are hereby given notice that pursuant to Section 33-6-106, C.R.S., the Parks and Wildlife Commission is authorized to suspend your privilege to apply for, purchase, or exercise the benefits conferred by any or all licenses issued by Colorado Parks and Wildlife for a period not to exceed five (5) years.”
So, that sounds pretty intimidating, right? Well, it really isn’t. All this means is that, after your hearing, the Parks and Wildlife Commission could take your license away. Thus suspension can last up to five years.
The notice of hearing will also include language like this:
“Pursuant to Section 33-6-106, C.R.S. a hearing will be held before a Hearing Examiner on behalf of the Parks and Wildlife Commission. A decision as to whether your privileges should be suspended will be based on the record(s) of your violations(s) and any evidence and arguments presented at the hearing. You are further notified that you have the right to have your attorney or witnesses appear with you at the hearing. You are further notified that you have the right to have your attorney or witnesses appear with you at the hearing. Please advise the Hearing Examiner’s office if your attorney or any witnesses will be present, along with their name(s) and address(es).”
That’s just a lot of words to say that the hearing will determine whether you get to keep your license. If they do suspend your license, they will also decide the length of the suspension at your hearing.
This part of the document also reminds you that you can present evidence in your own defense at the hearing. You can also have an attorney present. You must provide the names and addresses of your attorney and any witnesses.
The Location of the Hearing
The end of the notice of hearing will confirm that you need to notify the Hearings Office if you plan to attend the hearing. It will look like this:
“You are hereby advised that you are required to notify the Hearings Office by the required deadline date if you wish to appear and show cause why your privileges issued by Colorado Parks and Wildlife should not be suspended. In the case of nonresidents, al hearings will be scheduled at the administrative offices of the Denver Broadway Office, 6060 Broadway, Denver, CO 80216, unless another location is agreed upon.”
This area of the document will also confirm the location of the hearing. If you are a non-resident, the hearing can take place in Denver, or you can potentially negotiate a different location with the Hearings Office.
How Can I Prevent Parks and Wildlife From Suspending My License?
If you lose your hunting and fishing license in Colorado, you will also lose your hunting and fishing privileges in 44 states. This includes neighboring Kansas. The impact of a license suspension goes far beyond the borders of Colorado. Obviously, you want to avoid something like this as much as possible.
Having an attorney by your side can have a major impact on whether the Hearings Official suspends your license. An aggressive criminal defense attorney can help you understand what to expect from a hearing, as well as make sure you are taking responsibility for the correct mistakes.
WeedenLaw Has You Covered!
These types of legal documents can be intimidating, and overwhelming. We’re here to provide you with the knowledge and assistance you need. If you have received a notice of a wildlife suspension hearing in Colorado, call WeedenLaw at 720.307.4330. You can also leave us a message on our website.