Theft of Service

The crime of Theft of Service is charged as a Class C misdemeanor under Texas Penal Code Section 31.04. The penalties for theft of services include:

  • Penalty — Class C Misdemeanor (value of service stolen is less than $20)
  • Class B Misdemeanor (value of service stolen is $20 or more but less than $500)
  • Class A Misdemeanor (value of service stolen is $500 or more but less than $1,500)
  • State Jail Felony (value of service stolen is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000)
  • Third-Degree Felony (value of service stolen is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000)
  • Second-Degree Felony (value of service stolen is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000)
  • First-Degree Felony (value of service stolen is $200,000 or more)

Attorney for Theft of Service in San Antonio, TX

If you were charged with a theft crime in the greater San Antonio area, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Bexar County, TX. With offices conveniently located in San Antonio, TX, Don Flanary also represents clients throughout Bexar County and the surrounding areas of Kendall County, Comal County, Guadalupe County, Wilson County, Atascosa County, Medina County, and Bandera County.

Call (210) 738-8383 today to talk to Don Flanary about the facts of your case.


Elements of Services Theft in Section 31.04

Under Texas Penal Code Section 31.04, to prove the crime of theft of services, the prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond all reasonable doubt:

  • with intent to avoid payment for service that the defendant  knows is provided only for compensation;
  • the defendant intentionally or knowingly secures performance of the service by deception, threat, or false token having control over the disposition of services of another to which the defendant is not entitled;
  • the defendant intentionally or knowingly diverts the other's services to the defendant's benefit or to the benefit of another not entitled to them having control of personal property under a written rental agreement;
  • the defendant holds the property beyond the expiration of the rental period without the effective consent of the owner of the property thereby depriving the owner of the property of its use in further rentals;
  • the defendant intentionally or knowingly secures the performance of the service by agreeing to provide compensation; and after the service is rendered and fails to make payment after receiving notice demanding payment.

The term “service” includes any of the following: - labor and professional service; - telecommunication, public utility, or transportation service; - lodging, restaurant service, and entertainment; - the supply of a motor vehicle or other property for use.


Intent to Avoid Payment Presumptions

Texas law provides for a presumption regarding the intent to avoid payment under Texas Penal Code Section 31.04(a)(4)). Under this presumption, if the compensation is or was to be paid on a periodic basis, the intent to avoid payment for a service may be formed at any time during or before a pay period and the partial payment of wages alone is not sufficient evidence to negate the defendant's intent to avoid payment for a service.

Texas law provides for a presumption regarding the intent to avoid payment presumptions under Texas Penal Code Section 31.04(b)(1), (b)(2), (b)(3), or (b)(4)). The intent to avoid payment can be presumed if: 

  • the defendant absconded without paying for the service in circumstances where payment is ordinarily made immediately upon rendering of service, as in hotels, campgrounds, recreational vehicle parks, restaurants, and comparable establishments;
  • the defendant failed to make a payment under a service agreement within 10 days after receiving notice demanding payment;
  • the defendant returns property held under a rental agreement after the expiration of the rental agreement and fails to pay the applicable rental charge for the property within 10 days after the date on which the actor received notice demanding payment;
  • the defendant failed to return the property held under a rental agreement within five days after receiving notice demanding return if the property is valued at less than $1,500 or within three days after receiving notice demanding return, if the property is valued at $1,500 or more.

Affirmative Defenses to Theft of Services in Texas

Texas law provides for an important defense to the criminal charge of theft of services because it is a defense to prosecution that the defendant secured the performance of the service by: 

  • giving a post-dated check or similar sight order to the person performing the service; and
  • the person performing the service or any other person presented the check or sight order for payment before the date on the check or sight order.

Attorney for Services Theft Crimes in Bexar County, TX

The crime of Theft of Service is charged as charged as a Class C misdemeanor under Texas Penal Code Section 31.04.

If you were arrested for the offense of theft of service in New Braunfels, Schertz, Seguin, Boerne, Canyon Lake, Cibolo, Converse, Leon Valley, Live Oak, Timberwood Park, Universal City, Alamo Heights, Fair Oaks Ranch, Floresville, Helotes, Hondo, Kirby, Lackland AFB, Lakehills, Pleasanton, Selma, Terrell Hills and Windcrest, then contact Don Flanary to discuss your case. 

Don Flanary represents clients on theft, shoplifting, and fraud cases in San Antonio, Bexar County, and the surrounding areas in Texas. Call (210) 738-8383 today to discuss your case.


This article was last updated on Tuesday, January 3, 2016.

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