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15 charged with misdemeanors for illegal fishing in Florida

The Florida criminal code is extremely varied. While most people understand that selling drugs is a crime, there are other activities that people may not be as informed about -- catching certain fish at certain times of the year, for example. While many of these lesser known crimes are misdemeanors, that does not make them any less serious.

Recently the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission conducted a month-long enforcement mission. During this mission, the department cracked down on illegal fishing in Florida waters. Mostly, the operation -- called Operation for Future Generations -- was hoping to prevent illegal fishing of mutton-snappers during their spawning season and in their traditional spawning grounds. This mission led to 15 misdemeanor charges following 52 inspections of boats in Florida's coastline.

While people may not think that misdemeanor charges are serious, they can have long-lasting effects. In particular, people can spend time in jail if found guilty of a misdemeanor. They may also face probation or large fines.

Just like people may not understand all the different available criminal charges, people may also not understand Florida's criminal justice system. This may lead to someone making unnecessary deals with prosecutors or other decisions that can have detrimental effects.

However, with the right help, it is possible for people to have a successful resolution to cases involving misdemeanor charges. In some cases, defenses may be available which lead to dropped charges or reduced penalties. In other cases, it may be appropriate for defendants to negotiate with prosecutors. Through this negotiation, people may be able to mitigate the damage caused by the charges.

Source: KeysNet, "FWC crew nails 15 for fishing violations," Kevin Wadlow, June 1, 2013

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