Tampering with government records is a serious charge that can result in jail time as well as fines. You may not think that you’d ever be the position to defend yourself against this type of allegation in Texas, but the truth is that it is easier to do than you may think.
Here’s what you need to know about criminal tampering with government records in Texas and the penalties that can result if you are found guilty.
Defining Texas Criminal Tampering with Government Records
You can be charged with criminal tampering of government records in this state if you are caught doing any of the following:
- Intentionally make a false alternation of or false entry in a government record
- Present, use, or make any document or record with the knowledge that it is false and with the intent that it be taken as a legitimate government record
- Sell, offer, or possess a government record or blank government record with the intention to use it unlawfully
- Intentionally conceal, remove, or destroy the legibility, verity, or availability of any government record
- Use, present, or make a government record with the knowledge that it is false
- Sell, offer, or possess a government record or blank record with the understanding that it was acquired unlawfully
- A few examples of criminal tampering with government records include:
- Making or alteration of a jury form
- Making, selling, buying, or possessing fake automobile insurance cards or documents
- Buying, selling, making, or possessing false identification cards or documents
- Selling, making, possessing, or buying fake a fake Texas driver’s license or identification card
Over the past several years, these infractions have been considered much more serious due to the threat of terrorism in the United States. This has created a sensitivity to the security of the state as well as the use of false identification.
For this reason, possession of false identification is taken seriously by law enforcement and why you can be charged criminally if you are found in possession of it.
Texas Penalties for Criminal Tampering Charges
Criminal tampering with government records can range from a Class B misdemeanor to a second-degree felony charge. The degree with which a person is charged depends on a variety of factors, including:
- The type of document
- If there was an intent to harm or defraud
- If the record in question was being used, made, presented, or sold
Criminal tampering of different documents will result in variations of the charge. Documents most often associated with criminal tampering charges include insurance documents, school documents or records, permits, and other various licensing.
If you attempt to make false proof of insurance, then it can be charged as a third-degree felony. Presenting false documents of insurance is a Class B misdemeanor, and intent to defraud with either charge stated here can be a second-degree felony.
School Documents or Records
Tampering with records, assessments, reports, and records from public schools can result in a third-degree felony. If documents presented to establish residency for enrollment in public schools are falsified, then that’s a Class C misdemeanor.
Other Government Records
Falsifying a permit, title, certificate, license, or similar document can result in a third-degree felony charge. Falsifying a permit, seal, titles, patent, license, or certificate with the intent to defraud is a second-degree felony.
The penalties for these charges can be steep. Misdemeanors may result in simply a fine, but a second-degree felony may end in up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor, building cases designed to put people behind bars. Now, he uses that knowledge to protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth. He has been recognized for his work by Expertise (Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Forth Worth and Best DUI Lawyers in Fort Worth, both 2020), The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.