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

Theft of Telecommunications Service

Chapter 33a of the Texas Penal Code defines telecommunication related offenses.

“Theft of Telecommunications Service”, as per § 33a.04 of the Texas Penal Code, occurs when a person knowingly obtains or attempts to obtain telecommunications service to avoid or cause another person to avoid a lawful charge for that service by using:

·        a telecommunications access device without the authority or consent of the subscriber or lawful holder of the device or pursuant to an agreement for an exchange of value with the subscriber or lawful holder of the device to allow another person to use the device;

  • a counterfeit telecommunications access device;

  • a telecommunications device or counterfeit telecommunications device; or

  • a fraudulent or deceptive scheme, pretense, method, or conspiracy, or other device or means, including a false, altered, or stolen identification.

An offense under this section is:

  • a Class B misdemeanor if the value of the telecommunications service obtained or attempted to be obtained is less than $500;

  • a Class A misdemeanor if:

    • the value of the telecommunications service obtained or attempted to be obtained is $500 or more but less than $1,500; or

    • the value of the telecommunications service obtained or attempted to be obtained is less than $500 and the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense under this chapter;

  • a state jail felony if:

    • the value of the telecommunications service obtained or attempted to be obtained is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000; or

    • the value of the telecommunications service obtained or attempted to be obtained is less than $1,500 and the defendant has been previously convicted two or more times of an offense under this chapter;

  • a felony of the third degree if the value of the telecommunications service obtained or attempted to be obtained is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000;

  • a felony of the second degree if the value of the telecommunications service obtained or attempted to be obtained is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000; or

  • a felony of the first degree if the value of the telecommunications service obtained or attempted to be obtained is $200,000 or more.

Severity of Crime

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