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Theft of service: How does it differ from other offenses?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2022 | Theft & Property Crimes |

If you’re accused of committing a crime, it can be a terrifying experience. You’re understandably worried about how the outcome will affect your life and that of your family. You’ll need to develop a smart defense strategy and that begins with understanding what you’re up against – if the allegation is theft of service, it has unique aspects, unlike other offenses.

What is theft of service?

Texas law distinguishes services from property. Services, under the Texas Penal Code, include things like the labor or professional services of another person, public utility or transportation services and lodging, entertainment or restaurant services.

For an act to qualify as theft of service, the person committing it must have the intent to avoid paying for the service. There are several ways this can be accomplished. They can secure the service by deception or threat. If they have control over how another person’s services are distributed, they can divert the service to their own use. If they have property under a rental agreement, they can hold the property beyond expiration of the agreement. And they can secure performance of a service, but avoid paying after the service has been provided.

Theft of service punishment

Whether theft of service is charged as a misdemeanor or felony is largely dependent upon the value of the service which was appropriated. If the value is less than $2500, it’s considered a Class A, B or C misdemeanor, subject to a fine and possible jail time. Anything over $2500 will be charged as a felony, with the possibility of imprisonment for more than a year.

If you’ve been accused of theft of services, speak to a professional who is experienced in Texas criminal law. They can begin an investigation into the matter and help you decide how to best approach your case.