Texas Penal Code 32.52 – Fraudulent, Substandard, or Fictitious Degree
WHAT IS FRAUDULENT, SUBSTANDARD, OR FICTITIOUS DEGREE IN TEXAS?
The Texas law against fraudulent, substandard, or fictitious degree prohibits using or claiming to hold a substandard or fraudulent postsecondary degree to promote a business, obtain employment, licensing, certification, promotion, compensation, or other benefits, or to gain admission to an educational program or public office.
- What is a fraudulent or substandard degree? A fraudulent or substandard degree is a degree conferred by a private postsecondary education institution that was not accredited, approved, or authorized to operate under the Texas Education Code at the time it was conferred.
WHAT IS THE FRAUDULENT, SUBSTANDARD, OR FICTITIOUS DEGREE LAW IN TEXAS?
Tex. Penal Code § 32.52. FRAUDULENT, SUBSTANDARD, OR FICTITIOUS DEGREE.
(a) In this section, “fraudulent or substandard degree” has the meaning assigned by Section 61.302, Education Code.
(b) A person commits an offense if the person:
(1) uses or claims to hold a postsecondary degree that the person knows:
(A) is a fraudulent or substandard degree;
(B) is fictitious or has otherwise not been granted to the person; or
(C) has been revoked; and
(2) uses or claims to hold that degree:
(A) in a written or oral advertisement or other promotion of a business; or
(B) with the intent to:
(i) obtain employment;
(ii) obtain a license or certificate to practice a trade, profession, or occupation;
(iii) obtain a promotion, a compensation or other benefit, or an increase in compensation or other benefit, in employment or in the practice of a trade, profession, or occupation;
(iv) obtain admission to an educational program in this state; or
(v) gain a position in government with authority over another person, regardless of whether the actor receives compensation for the position.
(c) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.
(d) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section or the other law.
WHAT IS THE PENALTY CLASS FOR FRAUDULENT, SUBSTANDARD, OR FICTITIOUS DEGREE IN TEXAS?
The penalty classification for fraudulent, substandard, or fictitious degree is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in county jail.
WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT RANGE FOR FRAUDULENT, SUBSTANDARD, OR FICTITIOUS DEGREE IN TEXAS?
The punishment range for fraudulent, substandard, or fictitious degree, a Class B misdemeanor, is up to 180 days in jail, and a maximum $2,000 fine.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR FRAUDULENT, SUBSTANDARD, OR FICTITIOUS DEGREE IN TEXAS?
A person charged with fraudulent, substandard, or fictitious degree may be eligible for probation after a conviction, or deferred adjudication without a conviction, for a period not to exceed two years.
WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES TO FRAUDULENT, SUBSTANDARD, OR FICTITIOUS DEGREE IN TEXAS?
The statute does not authorize specific defenses to fraudulent, substandard, or fictitious degree. A person charged thereof may attempt to negate at least one of the elements the State must prove at trial.
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR FRAUDULENT, SUBSTANDARD, OR FICTITIOUS DEGREE IN TEXAS?
The limitation period for fraudulent, substandard, or fictitious degree is two years.
FRAUDULENT, SUBSTANDARD, OR FICTITIOUS DEGREE IN TEXAS
The laws punishing using or claiming to hold a fraudulent or substandard degree to obtain a benefit are collectively known as the “diploma mill” statutes. A person may be punished for claiming to hold a fraudulent degree to promote a business, get selected for a particular job, or other special treatment reserved only for holders of a true degree.
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DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15
Driving facts involved failing to maintain a single lane and speeding. Client refused breath test and forced law enforcement to obtain search warrant for blood. Blood test result was not used after challenge from Defense, and State waived and abandoned charge.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client was a college student, worried about the collateral consequences of an alcohol offense. After negotiation and review of the traffic stop, the case was dismissed. Client received no criminal conviction. The charge was later expunged and deleted from client’s record.
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15+
Client was involved in minor accident. Client was at fault in accident. A young executive, client was concerned that a criminal conviction for DWI would result in termination. After review of the traffic stop, it was clear the officer lacked probable cause for arrest. State eventually dismissed DWI charge. Client received no criminal conviction.
Client, a military veteran, was facing up to one year in jail. State could not prove intoxication by alcohol, and was prepared to proceed on loss of use by marijuana. After challenging the State to prove that marijuana was ingested at or near time of driving, and that marijuana impaired client’s driving, the State dismissed the case on the day of trial.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Driving facts involved a false claim by police that taillight was out. After challenging the reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop, the State was forced to dismiss the case when video did not match police report. Client has since expunged arrest, and has no criminal record.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client is a public school teacher and faced immediate termination upon conviction. The facts of the case were bad. State was unwilling to budge in negotiation, and matter was set for trial – the last shot at avoiding a conviction and preserving client’s livelihood. State was forced to dismiss on day of trial. Client has no criminal record, and has since expunged the DWI arrest.
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