Simulating Legal Process: Texas Penal Code §32.48

Texas Criminal Law

Nicholas Toufexis 2024 Best Lawyers "Ones to Watch" logo
Dallas Best Lawyers 2022 Badge

The Texas Simulating Legal Process law gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you delivered (or caused to be delivered) a document that pretended to be a formal court document with the intent to get a payment or take any action or submit to the pretended legal authority.

The Texas legislature codified this criminal offense in Texas Penal Code Section 32.48. The legislature did not update this law in 2023. In fact, this law has not been amended since 1997.

The Penal Code codifies the Texas Simulating Legal Process law under Title 7 “Offenses Against Property,” Chapter 32 “Fraud.” Learn more about the Texas offense of Simulating Legal Process below.

What is the current Texas law about Simulating Legal Process?

The current Texas law defines the offense of Simulating Legal Process in Penal Code Section §32.48 as follows:[1]

(a) A person commits an offense if the person recklessly causes to be delivered to another any document that simulates a summons, complaint, judgment, or other court process with the intent to:

(1) induce payment of a claim from another person; or

(2) cause another to:

(A) submit to the putative authority of the document; or

(B) take any action or refrain from taking any action in response to the document, in compliance with the document, or on the basis of the document.

How can I be charged with a Simulating Legal Process offense in Texas?

You can be charged with Simulating Legal Process in Texas if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 32.48(a) as described in the section above have been met.

What is the statute of limitation for Simulating Legal Process in Texas?

Misdemeanor level Simulating Legal Process charges have a two-year limitations period.[2] Felony-level offenses have a three-year limitations period.[3]

What is the penalty for a Texas Simulating Legal Process offense?

A conviction for Simulating Legal Process is punished by default as a Class A misdemeanor,[4] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $4,000 and jail time of up to a year.

However, a conviction for Simulating Legal Process can be punished as a State Jail Felony if you have a prior Simulating Legal Process conviction.[5] Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors here.

Can you get probation for Simulating Legal Process in Texas?

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows both judges and juries to grant probation for Simulating Legal Process, and judges are also allowed to accept deferred adjudication plea deals.[6]

Note, however, that judges may not grant community supervision after a conviction if (1) the defendant used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the felony or immediate flight thereafter and (2) the defendant used or exhibited the deadly weapon himself or was a party to the offense and knew that a deadly weapon would be used or exhibited.[7]

What level of crime is Simulating Legal Process in Texas?

The Penal Code classifies the punishment for Simulating Legal Process as a Class A misdemeanor, but the state can seek an enhancement to a state jail felony by proving a prior Simulating Legal Process conviction.

Learn more about the penalty range for this offense in the section above.


^1. Texas Penal Code §32.48. This law is current as of the 88th Legislature Regular Session.^2. Code of Criminal Procedure 12.02(a)^3. See Code of Criminal Procedure 12.01(9)^4. Texas Penal Code §32.48(e)^5. Texas Penal Code §32.48(f)^6. See Chapter 42, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 42A.054, Art. 42A.056, Art. 42A.102 .^7. Art. 42A.054(b), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure


Arrested or Charged With a Crime?