In a recent case in Colorado, we represented a client who was charged with
illegally possessing over 600 game birds. This case posed a challenge
as there was a large amount of evidence that the client was in possession
of the birds and knew that there were problems with that possession. Cases
such as this are investigated and charged by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Division of the Department of Wildlife. This state agency may not be the
most well-known law enforcement agency, but they often have some of the
most detailed investigations that we see.
Despite evidence that our client had a colorable defense to these charges,
and the presence of some questionable acts on the part of law enforcement,
the District Attorney would not dismiss the charges. As any type of conviction
would have dire consequences for our client, we began working vigorously
on his defense. We spent hours reviewing the discovery, drafting motions
and conducting pretrial hearings. While we felt that we presented a strong
defense to the charges at our pretrial hearings, the District Attorney
remained opposed to dismissing the charges and we proceeded to trial.
We held a two-day jury trial and were successful in raising the affirmative
defense of Mistake of Law. In this case, our Mistake of Law defense would
absolve our client of any criminal liability if he 1) thought the conduct
at issue was legal; and, 2) believed that because he was told as much
by an official authorized to make such a determination by the laws of
Colorado. Through testimony, documentary, and audio evidence, we were
able to show the Court that our client was operating under the mistaken
belief that he was authorized to possess the birds at issue. The Court
granted our request to add that defense to the jury instructions and we
made our closing arguments on the second day of trial.
We were hopeful that the jury saw this case as we did and were delighted
to receive a verdict of “Not Guilty” after roughly thirty
minutes of deliberation.
If you have been charged with a hunting or fishing violation, don’t
do anything without speaking with a wildlife attorney. WildlifeLawyers.com
have been representing big game hunters and fisherman throughout Colorado
for over a decade. Our attorneys are former wildlife prosecutors, judges
and federal and state criminal defenders. Call our attorneys at
888-458-0991 for a free consultation today if you have any questions about your rights
in the field.