Theft of Telecommunications Service graphic with Texas flag

Theft of Telecommunications Service

The Theft of Telecommunications Service crime in the state of Texas makes it illegal to obtain telecommunications services without authorization from the provider through a fraudulent scheme or counterfeit device. Learn more detailed information about the Theft of Telecommunications Service offense below.

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

Theft of Telecommunications Service is classified in the Texas Penal Code under Title 7 “Offenses Against Property,” Chapter 33A “Telecommunications Crimes.”

What is the current Texas law about Theft of Telecommunications Service?

The current Texas law is as follows:1

(a) A person commits an offense if the 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:

(1) 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;

(2) a counterfeit telecommunications access device;

(3) a telecommunications device or counterfeit telecommunications device; or

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

How can I be charged with Theft of Telecommunications Service?

You can be charged with Theft of Telecommunications Service if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 33A.04(a) as described in the section above have been met.

What is the punishment for Theft of Telecommunications Service?

If the value of the telecommunications device obtained is less than $500, then a conviction for Theft of Telecommunications 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 the telecommunications device obtained is less than $500 and the actor has been previously convicted, or if the telecommunications device obtained is $500 or more but less than $1,500, then a conviction for Theft of Telecommunications 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 the telecommunications device obtained is less than $1,500 and the actor has been previously convicted two or more times, or if the telecommunications device obtained is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000, then a conviction for Theft of Telecommunications 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 the telecommunications device obtained is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000, then a conviction for Theft of Telecommunications 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 the telecommunications device obtained is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000, then a conviction for Theft of Telecommunications 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 the telecommunications device obtained is $300,000 or more, then a conviction for Theft of Telecommunications 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.Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors


Legal References:

1 Texas Penal Code §33A.04

2 Texas Penal Code §33A.04(b)(1)

3 Texas Penal Code §33A.04(b)(2)

4 Texas Penal Code §33A.04(b)(3)

5 Texas Penal Code §33A.04(b)(4)

6 Texas Penal Code §33A.04(b)(5)

7 Texas Penal Code §33A.04(b)(6)

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