The statute of limitations for a crime in Texas is determined by the degree of offense. A misdemeanor has a shorter limitations period than a felony. Tampering with government documents, also known as Tampering with a Governmental Record, has a statute of limitations that runs from two to three years. Punishment ranges from a Class C misdemeanor to a second degree felony.
Felony Tampering with Government Documents
There is a three year statute of limitations for a felony charge of Tampering with a Governmental Record in Texas. It is a felony charge if the intent to defraud or harm can be proven. Actions considered tampering with a government document include knowingly making records or documents that are fake. Moreover, it is a crime to make these documents with the intention that other people will think they are real government documents. Even if you do not make the document, but just use it, it is still a crime. It is also a crime if you, on purpose, damage, destroy or make a government record unavailable. If you keep, sell or even offer to sell a blank government record, such as a blank Social Security, and your intent is that it is used illegally, such as for illegal immigrants, then that is a crime.
Misdemeanor Tampering with Government Documents
There is a two year statute of limitations for a misdemeanor charge of Tampering with a Governmental Record in Texas. It is a misdemeanor if you do not have the intent to defraud, but you do the acts mentioned in the felony section of the article, such as making false entries, using fake documents and selling real government documents for illegal purposes.
Other Relevant Statute of Limitations
The Texas Penal Code has several laws that overlap, and, as a result, a crime may be charged several different ways. For example, a person driving over the speed limit can be charged with speeding, unsafe speed and reckless driving. The exact charge is dependent on the circumstances. Likewise, certain acts that give rise to a tampering with government documents charge may be prosecuted with statute of limitations that run longer. Insurance fraud, for example, has a statute of limitations that runs five years. False statement to obtain property or credit as well as securing execution of a document by deception both have seven year statute of limitations. Forgery or the uttering, using or passing of forged instruments has a statute of limitations of 10 years.
The Statute of Limitations Defense
The statute of limitations is not an automatic system that screens old cases out. It is a defense to prosecution, but it must be raised before or during the guilt/innocence phase of the trial. A defendant waives the statute of limitations defense if he fails to raise it. Therefore, it is advisable to retain a Texas criminal defense attorney if charged with tampering with government documents in Texas. Furthermore, most people misunderstand how a statute of limitations is calculated. The statute of limitations usually begins to run from the date the offense is committed, but there are several exceptions. For example, the indictment will toll the statute of limitations, which is why some cases take several years to prosecute.
- Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
How to Decline Being a Will Executor After a Death
Occasionally when a will is opened after a person's death, a loved one will discover that he or she has been named...
How to Get Help with a House Payment from the Government
You can get help with a house payment from the government through your mortgage lender. The U.S. government has created the Home...
Federal Laws on Punishment for Tampering With Fire Equipment
If you fly regularly, you probably know the penalty for tampering with a smoke detector in an airplane lavatory. The government can...
How do I Use the Oxford Picture Dictionary for English?
You can study English with the Oxford Picture Dictionary as your main textbook or for extra vocabulary practice. Choose either the monolingual...
The Effects of a Class C Misdemeanor on Your Record
The law categorizes misdemeanors based on the nature of the crime. While laws vary by state, in most states conviction of a...
What is the California Law on Altering a Legal Document?
In California, altering legal documents can be a serious criminal offense. Depending on the nature of the legal document and what the...