A Texas teenager recently made headlines when he was arrested and charged with violating the Migratory Bird Act after killing two highly endangered whooping crane. Here’s what penalties he and others could face for hunting endangered animals in the US and how a Vista federal crimes lawyer can help anyone charged with these crimes.
First, it’s worth noting that while the boy, Trey Joseph Frederick, was only arrested for violating the Migratory Bird Act, he will also likely be charged separately with violating the Endangered Species Act as whooping cranes are protected by both statutes. If he was found guilty, he could be subject to penalties including years of imprisonment and a fine of over $5,000. Fortunately, there are defenses for these serious charges that can be used with the help of a top federal crime defense attorney in Vista, most notably, he could plead ignorance of the birds species.
Fredrick may have already confessed to killing the birds, but if he did not say that he knew they were whooping cranes, he may still be able to plead ignorance when it comes to violating the law. If the prosecution cannot prove that Frederick knew the birds were whooping cranes and/or had an idea they might be endangered, he cannot be criminally convicted under the law. This is yet another example of why it is so critical to never speak to police or prosecutors without your Vista federal lawyer present.
Under the law though, even those who unknowingly harmed an endangered species might still be subject to fines, so it is likely that this hunter will still pay the price for violating the law even if he didn’t mean to.
If you are accused off any federal crime, it is critical you contact a Vista federal attorney as soon as possible in order to protect your rights. Please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss.
Creative Commons Image by USFWS