Don't forget about The Justice System with the firearms opener of 2017's deer season just days away. Remember that the laws governing hunting will be vigorously enforced. Year after year, I take on clients who are charged with a variety of offenses by Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers. These officers, who possess wide-ranging authority, have power to investigate and arrest for not only wildlife and hunting offenses, but also for all violations of law. Some say their authority exceeds that of a Michigan State Police Trooper.
Invariably, many of people that call me as a result of alleged transgressions in the woods and fields of Michigan are completely unaware that they are probably charged with a misdemeanor. Yes, a misdemeanor, i.e. a crime! Some people think they can just pay a fine and move on. However, paying a misdemeanor fine means having a criminal record. Also, in Michigan many DNR-type offenses carry mandatory time in the county jail. For example, illegally taking or possessing a dear, bear, or wild turkey is punishable by restitution, loss of your hunting license for 3 consecutive years, a $200.00 - $1,000.00 fine, AND 5 to 90 days in jail.
If you are headed into the woods or fields this deer season, be sure to review the DNR's Hunting and Trapping Guide, which can be found on-line or at your local license dealer. Do not assume you know the rules and regulations, as they change from time-to-time. The time you spend reviewing the rules could save you from having to face a criminal charge stemming from what should have otherwise been a great outdoor adventure.
Some of the more common offenses that I have seen professionally over the years in The Justice System, include improper display of hunter orange, excessive baiting, improper transport of bow/firearm, hunting under the influence, illegal taking and possession of game, exceeding bag limits, and safety zone violations. If you are facing these types of charges, or any type of criminal charges, do not go it alone. You need experienced representation by someone who knows these types of charges. At the Law Office of John Freeman, PLLC, we not only talk the talk, but we also walk the walk. I am looking forward to being in the woods with my new .450 Bushmaster rifle on November 15th!
Stay safe and good luck this year.