Nearly everyone is familiar with the laws regarding the outright theft of property. However, most people are unaware of the fact that they can be charged with theft if they acquire or benefit from services that they have not paid for.
Quite frankly, the laws associated with theft of services can be confusing. Consulting with an experienced theft crimes defense attorney who is familiar with the theft laws, can give you clarity when you need it the most.
Dallas Theft of Services Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with the theft of a service in Dallas, or any of the surrounding areas in Texas, including Garland, Irving, Grand Prairie, Denton, Plano, McKinney, Fort Worth, Rockwall, Johnson, Wise, Ellis, Arlington, Mesquite, Carrolton, Richardson, Lewisville or Frisco, contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy.
Dallas criminal defense attorney Richard McConathy is knowledgeable in all areas of Texas’ theft laws and will make every effort to fight the allegations against you. Call Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (972) 233-5700 and set up a consultation to discuss your alleged offense. Your initial consultation is free, and it is the first step in developing your defense strategy.
Information Center for Theft of Service in Texas
- Theft of Service Laws in Texas
- Common Types of Criminal Service Theft in Texas
- Penalties for Theft of Service in Texas
According to the Texas Penal Code § 31.04, an individual can commit theft of service the following ways:
- Intentionally or knowingly secures a service by deception, threat, or false token
- Controlling a service that he or she is not entitled to, or intentionally diverting someone else’s service to his or her own benefit
- Holding property past the expiration date of the rental agreement, without the consent of the owner
- Secures a service by agreeing to provide compensation for it, but fails to make payment after service is rendered
One of the most common forms of theft of service is cable theft. An individual commits this offense if he or she establishes or maintains a physical, electronic, digital, or any other form of connection to a multichannel video service, without the consent of the service provider.
An individual can also be charged with cable theft if he or she manipulates a cable signal in a way that allows them to receive premium cable channels and pay-per-view programs, without the consent of the service provider.
Internet theft, also known as piggybacking, involves gaining access to an internet service without the consent of the service provider’s or the owner of the internet. If an individual connects to another’s wireless internet service by means of hacking, he or she can be charged with theft of internet service.
Other common forms of theft of service include skipping out on bar or restaurant tabs (dine and dash), and skipping out on cab fare.
The penalties for theft of service depend on the value of the stolen service. The guidelines are listed under Section 31.014 of the Texas Penal Code. If the value of the stolen service is:
- Less than $20, it is considered a Class C misdemeanor
- Between $20 and $500, the crime is a Class B Misdemeanor
- Between $500 and $1,500, it is a Class A Misdemeanor
- Between $1,500 and $20,000, the offense is classified as a state jail felony
- Between $20,000 and $100,000, it is considered a third degree felony
- Between $100,000 and $200,000, it is a second degree felony
- More than $200,000, it is classified as a first degree felony
A Class C misdemeanor is punishable by up to a $500 fine. Individuals convicted of a Class B misdemeanor can be sentenced to up to 180 days in jail, and/or a fine of up to $2,000. If convicted of a Class A misdemeanor an individual faces up to a year behind bars, and/or can be ordered to pay a fine not to exceed $4,000.
State jail felonies are punishable by between six months and two years in jail, and/or a fine of up to $10,000. A third degree felony carries a potential prison sentence of two to 10 years, and/or up to a $10,000 fine.
For a second degree felony, and individual faces between two and twenty years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000. If an individual is convicted of a first degree felony, he or she can be sentenced to between five and 99 years in prison, and/or ordered to pay up to a $10,000 fine.
Using an Attorney in Dallas to Defend Your Name From Service Theft Conviction
If you are facing charges for allegedly stealing a service in Dallas County, Tarrant County, Denton County, Collin County, or the surrounding areas, contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy. The firm has offices located in Fort Worth, Denton, Arlington, McKinney, Irving, Dallas, Plano, and Allen, which allows these dedicated defense attorneys to provide quality legal representation to individuals throughout the state of Texas.
Richard McConathy is an aggressive criminal defense attorney who will do everything in his power to ensure that your rights are protected. Call him today at (972) 233-5700 or send an online form to schedule your free consultation.