Theft of Petroleum Product: Texas Penal Code §31.19

Texas Criminal Law

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The Texas Theft of Petroleum Product law gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you stole crude oil, natural gas, or condensate.

The Texas legislature codified this criminal offense in Texas Penal Code Section 31.19. The law was not updated in 2023. In fact, this law has not been amended since it was enacted in 2017.

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The legislature created this law in response to the shale boom in the Eagle Ford and the Permian Basin. Sophisticated hydrocarbon theft operations got the legislature’s attention. Legislators believed that a more specific, targeted oil and gas theft statute with a steeper penalty ladder would help stem the problem.

Violations of this offense are punished at the state jail felony level at a minimum, even for minimal amounts of theft.

The Penal Code classifies the Texas Theft of Petroleum Product law under Title 7 “Offenses Against Property,” Chapter 31 “Theft.” Learn more about the Texas offense of Theft of Petroleum Product below.

What is the current Texas law about Theft of Petroleum Product?

The current Texas law defines the offense of Theft of Petroleum Product in Penal Code Section §31.19 as follows:[1]

(b) A person commits an offense if the person unlawfully appropriates a petroleum product with intent to deprive the owner of the petroleum product by:

(1) possessing, removing, delivering, receiving, purchasing, selling, moving, concealing, or transporting the petroleum product; or

(2) making or causing a connection to be made with, or drilling or tapping or causing a hole to be drilled or tapped in, a pipe, pipeline, or tank used to store or transport a petroleum product.

(c) Appropriation of a petroleum product is unlawful if it is without the owner’s effective consent.

This law was enacted by the legislature in 2017 and took effect September 1, 2017.[2]

What is the statute of limitation for Theft of Petroleum Product in Texas?

Theft of Petroleum Product offenses have a three-year limitations period.[3]

What is the penalty for a Texas Theft of Petroleum Product offense?

This offense is classified as a felony, with the degree based upon the total value of the stolen petroleum products or oil and gas equipment. All offenses involving theft of petroleum products less than $10,000 are classified at the state jail felony level.[4] If the product stolen is worth between $10,000 and $100,000, the penalty is increased to a third degree felony.[5] If the hydrocarbons are valued between $100,000 and $300,000, then it’s a second degree felony.[6] Finally, any Theft of Petroleum Product over $300,000 is classified as a first degree felony.[7]

Can you get probation for Theft of Petroleum Product in Texas?

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows both judges and juries to grant probation for Theft of Petroleum Product, and judges are also allowed to accept deferred adjudication plea deals.[8]

Note, however, that no matter the offense, neither judges nor juries may recommend community supervision for any suspended sentence of over 10 years.[9] Also, judges may not grant community supervision after a conviction if (1) the defendant used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the felony or immediate flight thereafter and (2) the defendant used or exhibited the deadly weapon himself or was a party to the offense and knew that a deadly weapon would be used or exhibited.[10]

What level of crime is Theft of Petroleum Product in Texas?

The Penal Code classification of the punishment for Theft of Petroleum Product ranges from a state jail felony to a first degree felony, depending on the value of the stolen petroleum product.

Learn more about the penalty range for this offense in the section above.

Can a Texas Theft of Petroleum Product offense be reduced?

Yes, Theft of Petroleum Product could be reduced. The most obvious reduction would be to the standard Theft offense.


^1. Texas Penal Code §31.19. This law is current as of the 88th Legislature Regular Session.^2. SB 1871, 85th Legislature (RS), Section 1^3. See Code of Criminal Procedure 12.01(9)^4. Texas Penal Code §31.19(d)(1)^5. §31.19(d)(2), Texas Penal Code^6. Texas Penal Code §31.19(d)(3)^7. §31.19(d)(4), Texas Penal Code^8. See Chapter 42, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 42A.054, Art. 42A.056, Art. 42A.102 .^9. Art. 42A.053(c), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure^10. Art. 42A.054(b), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure

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