Law Office of Kimberly N. Shanklin, PLLC.
Serving Denton County Since 2002
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Theft of Service

Theft of Service

Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code defines theft related offenses.

“Theft of Service”, as per § 31.04 of the Texas Penal Code, occurs when a person, with intent to avoid payment for service that the actor knows is provided only for compensation:

  • the actor intentionally or knowingly secures performance of the service by deception, threat, or false token;

  • having control over the disposition of services of another to which the actor is not entitled, the actor intentionally or knowingly diverts the other's services to the actor's own benefit or to the benefit of another not entitled to the services;

  • having control of personal property under a written rental agreement, the actor holds the property beyond the expiration of the rental period without the effective consent of the owner of the property, thereby depriving the owner of the property of its use in further rentals; or

  • the actor intentionally or knowingly secures the performance of the service by agreeing to provide compensation and, after the service is rendered, fails to make full payment after receiving notice demanding payment.

Intent to avoid payment is presumed if:

  • the actor absconded without paying for the service or expressly refused to pay for the service in circumstances where payment is ordinarily made immediately upon rendering of the service, as in hotels, campgrounds, recreational vehicle parks, restaurants, and comparable establishments;

  • the actor failed to make payment under a service agreement within 10 days after receiving notice demanding payment;

  • the actor returns property held under a rental agreement after the expiration of the rental agreement and fails to pay the applicable rental charge for the property within 10 days after the date on which the actor received notice demanding payment

  • the actor failed to return the property held under a rental agreement within five days after receiving notice demanding return, if the property is valued at less than $2,500, or within three days after receiving notice demanding return, if the property is valued at $2,500 or more

An offense under this section is:

  • a Class C misdemeanor if the value of the service stolen is less than $100;

  • a Class B misdemeanor if the value of the service stolen is $100 or more but less than $750;

  • a Class A misdemeanor if the value of the service stolen is $750 or more but less than $2,500;

  • a state jail felony if the value of the service stolen is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000;

  • a felony of the third degree if the value of the service stolen is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000;

  • a felony of the second degree if the value of the service stolen is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000; or

  • a felony of the first degree if the value of the service stolen is $300,000 or more.

Severity of Crime

Misdemeanor c

  • Fine not to exceed $500

Misdemeanor B

  • Confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days

  • Fine not to exceed $2,000

  • Both such fine and confinement

Misdemeanor A

  • Confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year

  • Fine not to exceed $4,000

  • Both such fine and confinement

State Jail Felony

  • Confinement in a state jail for not more than two years and not less than 180 days

  • In addition to confinement, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000

Third Degree Felony

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for not more than 10 years or less than two years

  • In addition to imprisonment, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000

Second Degree FelonY

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for not more than 20 years or less than two years

  • In addition to imprisonment, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000

First Degree Felony

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for life, or

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for not more than 99 years or less than five years with the exception of aggravated sexual assault, which adds a 25-year minimum punishment if the victim is younger than 6, or younger than 14 and the offense contained threats of serious bodily injury or death, or use of a deadly weapon

  • In addition to imprisonment, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000