Theft of service text with flags in background Theft of Service
Theft of service text with flags in background

Theft of Service

The Theft of Service crime in the state of Texas gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you used a service and planned on not paying the service provider for the work they did. Learn more detailed information about the Theft of Service offense below.

UPDATE: HB 2524 amended the Theft of Service law with respect to rental property. The main effect of the amendments was to create a rebuttable presumption of “intent to avoid payment” related to certain rental property when it was not returned after notice was given as described in the bill or if fewer than three payments were made.

Have you been charged with Theft of Service? Call criminal lawyer Paul Saputo at (888) 239-9305 to discuss legal representation.

Theft of Service is classified in the Texas Penal Code under Title 7 “Offenses Against Property”, Chapter 31 “Theft.”

What is the current Texas law about Theft of Service?

The current Texas law is as follows:1

(a) A person commits theft of service if, with intent to avoid payment for service that the actor knows is provided only for compensation:

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

(2) 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;

(3) 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

(4) 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.

How can I be charged with Theft of Service?

You can be charged with Theft of Service if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 31.04(a) as described in the section above have been met.

What is the punishment for Theft of Service?

The punishment for a conviction of Theft of Service can range anywhere from a Class C misdemeanor to a First Degree Felony. The value of the stolen service is the factor that determines how serious the punishment is, and it follows the same guidelines as the Theft offense.

If the value of service stolen is less than $100, then a conviction for Theft of Service is punished as a Class C misdemeanor,2 with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $500.

If the value of service stolen is $100 or more but less than $750, then a conviction for Theft of Service is punished as a Class B misdemeanor,3 with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $2,000 and jail time of up to 180 days.

If the value of service stolen is $750 or more but less than $2,500, then a conviction for Theft of Service is punished 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 one year.

If the value of service stolen is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000, then a conviction for Theft of Service is punished as a State Jail Felony,5 with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $10,000 and jail time of up to two years.

If the value of service stolen is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000, then a conviction for Theft of Service is punished as a Felony of the Third Degree,6 with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $10,000 and prison time of up to 10 years.

If the value of service stolen is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000, then a conviction for Theft of Service is punished as a Felony of the Second Degree,7 with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $10,000 and prison time of up to 20 years.

If the value of service stolen is $300,000 or more then a conviction for Theft of Service is punished as a Felony of the First Degree,8 with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $10,000 and up to life in prison.


Legal References:

1 Texas Penal Code §31.04

2 Texas Penal Code §31.04(e)(1)

3 Texas Penal Code §31.04(e)(2)

4 Texas Penal Code §31.04(e)(3)

5 Texas Penal Code §31.04(e)(4)

6 Texas Penal Code §31.04(e)(5)

7 Texas Penal Code §31.04(e)(6)

8 Texas Penal Code §31.04(e)(7)

Recent Case Results

  • 2019 Not Guilty in Collin County DWI >0.15
  • 2019 Not Guilty in Dallas County Indecency with a Child
  • Oral Argument at the United States Federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Prosecutorial Misconduct Claim arising out of Northern District of Texas
  • 2018 Not Guilty in Martin County Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Peace Officer
  • Not Guilty in 2018 Dallas County DWI Trial
  • Client cleared in Dallas Police Shooting wrongful accusation
  • Federal sentencing results in 10 Year Downward Deviation from Sentencing Guidelines in 2018
  • Not Guilty Jury Verdict for client originally accused of Intoxication Manslaughter
  • Case Dismissed after picking jury in Aggravated Sexual Assault of Child case in 2017
  • United States Attorney dismisses case against client charged in El Paso Federal Court with Possession of Child Pornography
  • ALL CHARGES DISMISSED against our client in the Twin Peaks Waco Biker case
  • Client “No-billed” by grand jury investigating shooting death case
  • Coverage of Case Involving Waco teacher sending messages to student
  • Judge returns a Directed Verdict of Acquittal in case involving trainer of professional athletes
  • Rare Not Guilty verdict in Rockwall County DWI
  • 2016 Dismissal of Fort Worth Federal Possession of Obscene Visual Representation of the Sexual Abuse of Children
  • Hill County Money Laundering case Dismissed and civil asset forfeiture assets returned
  • Coverage of teen Lewisville client charged with hit-and-run death
  • Two Montague County Indecency with a Child cases Dismissed