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AGO 1951 No. 156 - October 23, 1951
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

GAME -- POWER TO MAKE ARRESTS AND SEARCHES

Game protectors do have authority to stop and search automobiles and may do so without a warrant when the facts and circumstances before the officer are such that he has reasonable cause for believing that a violation has occurred.

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                                                                October 23, 1951

Honorable Charlie Johnson
State Representative
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 156

Dear Sir:

            This is in reply to your letter of October 16, 1951, in which you ask:

            "Do Game Wardens of the Department of Game, have the authority to stop and search automobiles on State and County roads during hunting season."

            Our conclusion is that game protectors do have authority to stop and search automobiles and may do so without a warrant when the facts and circumstances before the officer are such that he has reasonable cause for believing that a violation has occurred.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Sections 5992-28 through 5992-30 Rem. Supp. 1947 authorize game protectors to make arrests without warrants and to make searches and seizures without warrants for game violations.  This authority, however, is limited by our constitutional guarantees against unlawful arrest and seizure.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            Please find enclosed two earlier opinions of this office to the superior of Game and Game Fish dated September 24, 1923, and to the prosecuting attorney of Pierce County dated September 26, 1925, which fully discuss the problems raised by your question.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

ROBERT L. SIMPSON
Assistant Attorney General

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