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Make It Rain: Counterfeiting Punishments

Posted on January 10, 2014 by Mintzer Law

Counterfeiting is an old crime that has been around for centuries. Merely three years after the creation of the U.S. Constitution in 1787, Congress enacted some of the first laws making counterfeiting illegal in this country. Today, counterfeiting is a crime under both state and federal laws. Penalties for those convicted of counterfeiting are intended to both punish the convicted offender and deter others from committing the same offense.

Counterfeiting in Texas

Trademark counterfeiting affects consumers and manufacturers equally. A person commits a crime by engaging in any of the following activities involving a counterfeit mark, item or service:

  • Manufacturing
  • Displaying
  • Selling
  • Distributing
  • Advertising
  • Possessing with intent to sell

The item or service involved in the commission of the offense must bear or be identified with the counterfeit mark, and the person committing the offense must know or should have known that the mark was counterfeit.

Determining the Value of the Items or Services

Penalties for someone convicted of the crime of counterfeiting in Texas are increase as the value of the items or services increase. The criminal code allows prosecutors to charge a person by aggregating the retail value of all services or items constituting a continuing course of conduct. This procedure usually increases the value associated with the criminal conduct and results in a more serious charge and harsher penalties upon conviction.

Charges for Counterfeiting

The Texas Penal Code classifies counterfeiting according to the retail value of the items or services. Offenses are classified as follows:

  • Retail value under $20 is a class C misdemeanor
  • Retail value $20 or more but less than $500 is a class B misdemeanor
  • Retail value $500 or more but less than $1,500 is a class A misdemeanor
  • Retail value $1,500 or more but less than $20,000 is a state jail felony
  • Retail value $20,000 or more but less than $100,000 is a felony of the third degree
  • Retail value $100,000 or more but less than $200,000 is a felony of the second degree
  • Retail value $200,000 or more is a felony of the first degree

Punishment for Counterfeiting in Texas

A judge has the authority under Texas law to sentence a person convicted of counterfeiting as follows:

  • Class C misdemeanor: fines up to $500
  • Class B misdemeanor: fines up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail
  • Class A misdemeanor: fines up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail
  • State jail felony: fines up to $10,000 and 180 days to two years in state jail
  • Felony of the third degree: fines up to $10,000 and from two to 10 years in prison
  • Felony of the second degree: fines up to $10,000 and from two to 20 years in prison

If you have been arrested for printing money, then the government is going to work very hard to prosecute your case. Speak with Rand Mintzer today by calling 713-862-8880.