DNR Citations

You need a criminal defense lawyer if you are charged with a DNR (Department of Natural Resources) citation in Maryland. A DNR citation is a criminal charging document issued by a Natural Resources Police Officer for a violation of the Maryland Natural Resources Code. These are typically laws related to hunting, fishing and boating. A DNR citation is a misdemeanor and the maximum penalties are often $1000 or more and some offenses carry the possibility of jail sentences. A DNR citation is a crime that will remain on your criminal record if you are convicted. DNR police officers and judges take these charges seriously and so should you. If you are charged with a DNR citation you need an experienced criminal defense attorney from the MacDonald Law Office to protect your rights and aggressively defend you against the charge.


Commercial waterman working on the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries out of harbors in Dorchester, Somerset and Wicomico Counties have even more at stake when it comes to DNR citations. Many commercial fisherman work out of harbors in Cambridge, Crisfield, and Winona. In addition to hefty fines, repeated DNR violations can result in the suspension of a commercial fishing license. This means that a waterman's livelihood may be on the line when a DNR citation is issued against a commercial license holder.

A person must have a commercial license through DNR to commercially harvest crabs, oysters and fish in the Chesapeake Bay. A limited number of commercial fishing licenses are issued. There is a waiting list. The DNR assesses points against a commercial license for violations of the commercial fishing laws. Once a certain number of points are assessed against a license holder, the DNR will suspend the license. A licensee has 30 days from the date of notice of a suspension to request a hearing through the Office of Administrative Hearing (OAH). A hearing will be held through the OAH where an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will decide after hearing from both sides whether the license should be suspended. In addition, for certain categories of egregious, repeat or knowing violations, DNR may revoke a commercial fishing license or authorization for striped bass, crabs or oysters after an OAH hearing. A person with a commercial fishing license should have an experienced criminal and administrative law attorney to represent him at an OAH hearing for the suspension of a commercial fishing license.

Andrew MacDonald and Cynthia MacDonald are experienced criminal defense attorneys who have been practicing criminal and administrative law on the Eastern Shore of Maryland for twenty years. We have appeared at many OAH hearings. Living and working on the Eastern Shore we understand how important it is to protect a waterman's right to make a living. We are committed to helping commercial waterman and sportsman charged with DNR crimes. Call the MacDonald Law Office today at 410-713-4465 for a free initial consultation if you are charged with a DNR citation on Maryland's Eastern Shore, or if you have been notified that your commercial fishing license will be suspended.

Additional information about DNR citations is available at Maryland.gov