Theft of Services

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 the 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.  

Theft of Services

Theft of Services Defense Lawyer in Irving, Dallas, Carrolton, Richardson, TX

If you have been charged with the theft of services in 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. 

Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (972) 233-5700 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Irving, Dallas, Carrolton, Richardson, and surrounding areas of Dallas County, Texas. Our firm will work to potentially get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed.  

Theft of Service Laws in Texas

According to the Texas Penal Code § 31.04, an individual can commit theft of service in 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

Types of Service Theft Crimes Common in Dallas

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 internet service without the consent of the service provider 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.

Penalties for Theft of Service in Texas

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, an 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.

Find A Dallas County Defense Attorney for Theft of Services Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

Richard McConathy is an aggressive criminal defense attorney who will do everything in his power to ensure that your rights are protected.

Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (972) 233-5700 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Irving, Dallas, Carrolton, Richardson, and surrounding areas of Dallas County, Texas. Our firm will work to potentially get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed.

Back to top