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Tampering with Government Records

Altering, destroying or concealing government records is considered a crime in Texas. In some cases, the crime stems from a simple misunderstanding associated with paperwork. However, some tamper with government records for a personal benefit such as getting accepted for a loan or possessing and selling a false governmental I.D.

The penalties for tampering with a government record are incredibly serious with offenders facing felony charges. This means expensive fines in the tens of thousands and time in prison. Not to mention, the stigma and strife associated with released felons once they’ve finished their sentence. If you or someone you know has been charged with tampering with a governmental record, it’s imperative you obtain trusted legal counsel.

Austin Attorney for Tampering with a Government Record in Texas

Concealing, destroying, or falsifying a government record can lead to serious penalties. In Texas, the lightest sentence for tampering with a government record you can receive is a felony charge. With such high stakes, it’s important you have legal representation secured.

We recommend you contact The Law Office of Kevin Bennett for a compassionate and experienced fraud attorney. Kevin Bennett is an Austin-raised resident with a love for what he does. In addition, attorney Bennett has been practicing defense in Texas court rooms for years and knows the best way to approach a falsification case. To set up an appointment, call (512) 476-4626 for your first consultation completely free.

The Law Office of Kevin Bennett represents people throughout the greater Travis County area including Lago Vista, Austin, Del Valle, Bee Cave, and Pflugerville.

Overview of Tampering with a Government Record in TX


Elements of Tampering with a Government Record in Texas

Tampering a government record is a serious offense under Texas law. According to Texas Statute Section 37.10, you could be charged with tampering with a government record if you do any of the following actions:

  • Knowingly make a false entry or false altercation of a government record;
  • Creates, presents, or uses any document or record with knowledge that it’s false with the intent for it to be taken as a genuine governmental record;
  • Intentionally conceal, destroy, remove or impair the legibility, verity or availability of a government record;
  • Possess, sell, or offer to sell a government record or blank governmental record with the intent for it to be used unlawfully;
  • Create, use or present a government record you know is false; or
  • Possess, sell or offer to sell a government record or blank record with knowledge it was obtained in an unlawful manner

Government records can include a variety of important identifying documentation such as school or medical records, passports, W2s, birth certificates and social security cards. It’s an admissible defense if the document was destroyed along the guidelines of Texas Statute Section 441.204. It’s also an admissible defense if the false entry or information had no effect on the government’s purpose for requiring the government record.


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Penalties for Tampering with a Government Record in Texas

The penalties associated with tampering with a government record are incredibly serious. If convicted, you could face a class A misdemeanor. The penalties for a class A misdemeanor include the following:

  • Up to one year in jail; and
  • A fine of up to $4,000

Tampering with a government record required to enroll a child into a school district is a class C misdemeanor, which can result in a fine of up to $500. The offense is a class B misdemeanor if the tampered record was a written appraisal filed with the appraisal review board for a personal benefit. The maximum penalties for class B misdemeanors include:

  • Up to 180 days in county jail; and
  • A fine of up to $2,000

The crime’s consequences can be enhanced to a third-degree felony if it’s shown at trail that:

  • You tampered with a public-school record, report or assessment instrument for a school district or open-enrollment charter school;
  • You tampered with a public school or charter school certificate, permit, seal title, letter of patent or any similar document issued by the government or the state;
  • You tampered with a written report of a medical, chemical, ballistic, toxicological or other expert examination for the purpose of determining the relevance of the evidence in a criminal action; or
  • You tampered with a written report of the inspection, maintenance record of an instrument, certification, apparatus, implement, machine or other device used during the court of an examination or test performed on physical evidence to determine the relevance of evidence to a criminal action; or
  • You tampered with a search warrant issued by a magistrate

A third-degree felony is punishable by:

  • Up to 10 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $10,000

If you tampered with a school record, report, assessment instrument, certificate, permit, seal, title, letter of patent or similar document with the intent to defraud or harm another person, then you will be charged with a second-degree felony.

The penalties for a second-degree felony include:

  • Up to 20 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $10,000

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Additional Resources

The Marshall Project – Visit the official website for the non-profit organization Marshall Project for more criminal justice news and statistics regarding the massive prison overpopulation in the United States. Access the site to read their articles, learn their projects and how to get involved.

Texas Tampering with Government Record Laws – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code to learn more about tampering with a government record. Access the site to learn more about the elements, penalties, and the possible admissible defenses associated with the charges.


Tampering with Government Records Lawyer in Travis County, TX

If you or someone you know has been arrested for tampering with government records, it’s important you obtain trusted legal counsel you can trust. Tampering with government records penalties range from a minor misdemeanor to high-level felony, so you could be facing serious statutory penalties.

Contact The Law Office of Kevin Bennett to speak to an attorney who has extensive defensive skills and techniques. You can set up your first consultation free and during the appointment attorney Kevin Bennett can answer all of your legal questions. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett represents people throughout the greater Austin area including Lago Vista, West Lake Hills, Pflugerville and Bee Cave.


This article was last updated on September 27, 2019.

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