attorney with Theft of Service Graphic

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.

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

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

What is the law in Texas about Theft of Service?

The offense is described in Section 31.04 of the Texas Penal Code.

(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,1 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,2 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,3 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,4 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,5 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,6 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,7 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 Section 31.04(e)(1)

2 Texas Penal Code Section 31.04(e)(2)

3 Texas Penal Code Section 31.04(e)(3)

4 Texas Penal Code Section 31.04(e)(4)

5 Texas Penal Code Section 31.04(e)(5)

6 Texas Penal Code Section 31.04(e)(6)

7 Texas Penal Code Section 31.04(e)(7)

Published by Criminal Defense Attorney on and last modified