My question involves criminal law for the state of: INDIANA
Long story short. The state of Indiana has a daily bag limit of 5 trout. However, I fatally missed the "daily" part. I went fishing in the morning, catching 1 fish and was given 4 more by an elderly gentleman. I went home. 8 Hours later my dad came home from work and invited me to fish with him. Of course I went. We each landed 5 trouts thinking we're well within the legal limits. Of course some undercover wardens were there the whole day and they noticed my reappearance. They seized 5 of the 10 fish we caught and wrote me a citation for "Exceeding the Daily Bag Limit for Trout" after some questioning. I was faced with 1.) cooperate and admit or 2.) don't cooperate and go to jail. Of course I took the latter option. According to the warden, this is a misdemeanor and he suggested that I plea guilty in my initial hearing which is scheduled in late August.
So the questions are...
1. is violation of fish and game regulation seriously a misdemeanor?
2. is there a way for this to not go on my criminal record? (diversion program, dropping charges, etc?)
3. Should I plea guilty and pay the fine or plea not guilty and wait for the officers to actually produce evidence to prove my guilt beyond reasonable doubts? (I have doubts as to the accuracy of their evidence: 1. they believed 2 fish were given to me instead of four 2. their information on the given fish were solely from "saying" of the elderly gentleman who said he gave a couple of fish away 3. they said they have photos of me catching my one fish but refused to show them to me when requested saying they will use them against me in court)
4. Am I eligible for a copy of the wardens' report? I'm sure they have one just like a police report, but the guy never mentioned that I can pick them up.
5. At the initial hearing, can I ask the judge for diversion or plea bargains before I make an official plea?
6. What should I do????? I don't want this to go on record as I am a 21 years old college student with a whole life ahead of me (plus being in the military). On one hand I want this to be all over with quickly, but on the other hand, having this thing on record is not going to sit well with my future employments :( Please give me all you got. I didn't mean to break the law. My father has been fishing for 25 years and he said it would be fine (apparently not:()