You've seen a posting that advertises a job you're perfect for. You go over your resume and see that you've met the experience requirements and you have the necessary competencies to perform the duties exceptionally. Then you see that the position requires a bachelor's degree. You're still in college, about 2 semesters away from graduating. You'll probably have your degree by the time you start your new job. It couldn't hurt to say you already have a it, right? Actually, doing that is a crime in Texas.
What Is the Law Concerning Fictitious Degrees?
Texas Penal Code 32.52 states that it's illegal to say you hold a postsecondary degree when you don't. But that’s not all it prohibits. It also makes it unlawful to claim that you have a degree when you know the one you have is fake, has been revoked, or is fraudulent or substandard.
A degree is defined as a designation showing that a person has a:
- Doctor's; or
The conferral of a degree signifies that the holder has satisfactorily completed the course of study for the designation.
What Is a Fraudulent or Substandard Degree?
To understand what's considered a fraudulent or substandard degree in this state, you must look at section 61.302 of the Education Code.
These laws state that a person has a fraudulent or substandard degree when it:
- Was issued by an educational institution that was violating the law
- Was not approved through a review process described by the Education Code and the institute was not accredited to confer a degree in another state or country
What Is Prohibited by the Law Concerning Forged Degrees?
Under Texas law, there are specific circumstances when saying you have a degree that wasn't actually conferred is illegal. For instance, if you're just a few units short of getting your degree and you tell your friends and family you have one, that's okay.
However, it’s unlawful to fraudulently say you have a degree to:
- Get a job
- Obtain a professional license or certificate
- Get a promotion
- Qualify for a raise
- Be admitted to an educational program
- Get a government position that has authority over someone else
What Are the Penalties for Claiming a Fake or Substandard Degree?
Say you applied for the job you saw and got the position. If the employer later finds out you claimed you had a degree when you didn't, you could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. In Texas, the conviction penalties for this type of charge include up to 180 days in prison and up to $2,000 in fines.
Speak with The Law Office of Shane Phelps, P.C. During a Free Consultation
You may not have realized you had a fraudulent or substandard degree, or you may have thought you completed the graduation requirements for your course of study. If you were accused of an offense in Bryan and College Station, reach out to us today. Our attorneys are committed to providing legal representation for students in trouble, and we will work toward a favorable outcome on your behalf.
For effective legal counsel, call us at (979) 773-7028 or contact us online.