Is that a DUI sobriety check ahead? Nope that is a Wildlife Checkpoint!
Colorado Parks and Wildlife, is conducting one of the largest wildlife check stations in the state’s history. The CPW has set up a checkpoint near Idaho Springs and with the assistance of over 200 law enforcement officers from eight separate agencies in three states are operating around-the-clock fish and game checkpoint. This is only one checkpoint, but don’t be surprised when these checkpoints become the norm in the future.
Colorado law states: “The division is authorized to establish check stations…Persons who encounter check stations, whether in possession of wildlife or not, shall stop and produce licenses issued by the division, firearms, and wildlife for inspection by division personnel. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor …”
If you get stopped and checked you better know your rights, because anything you say to the law enforcement officers “can and will be used against you”.
Colorado hunting laws also state that “Any person who hunts…, or possesses wildlife for any purpose shall produce all applicable licenses issued to him by the division, all firearms, all records required to be maintained …, and any personal identification documents when requested to do so by a district wildlife manager or another peace officer.
What are your rights as a hunter if stopped and questioned at one of these new hunting checkpoints? Contact an attorney at Wildlife Lawyers immediately to understand all of your rights as a Colorado outdoorsman.
You should always be polite, courteous, and cooperate within the bounds of your rights when interacting with a wildlife officer or peace officer. But if they start to ask you questions or interrogate you remember you have a right to remain silent and you have a right to an attorney. Know your rights ahead of time. Wildlife officers do not have to advise you of your rights if you are not in custody (i.e. a checkpoint). As a hunter you must educate yourself with the appropriate rules and regulations regarding hunting in Colorado. You must educate yourself with what you must produce when asked and what you do not have to produce when asked at a checkpoint.
The general rule is that a checkpoint is not the place to “come clean” with potential wildlife violations (crimes) you committed regardless if the officer says it will be better for you to tell them what happened. Wildlife officers are also criminal investigators. They are investigating potential wildlife crimes and anything you tell them may just help prove their case against you.
Officers may claim that things will go easier on you if you just come clean, but the reality is they will use what you say (admission) to prepare a case against you and you will be charged with a wildlife crime. Yes, wildlife tickets are crimes! Remember if you are convicted of a wildlife offense you likely will have a criminal conviction on your record, and you will have to pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars in fines and costs, and you could lose your hunting privileges. Under Colorado law, depending on what you are convicted of, you could lose your hunting privileges for anywhere from 1 year to a lifetime suspension (to include being suspended in the interstate wildlife compact states – 32 other states).
WildlifeLawyers.com has been representing big game hunters and fishermen throughout Colorado for over a decade. Our attorneys are former wildlife prosecutors, judges, and federal and state criminal defenders. Call our attorneys at 800-817-1106 for a free consultation today if you have any questions about your rights in the field.