Theft of Service Explained

hands in handcuffs

In the State of Texas, theft charges go beyond incidents in which someone else's physical property and tangible assets are stolen. There are also charges for what is known as theft of service. These charges relate to avoiding or intending to avoid paying for services that the accused allegedly availed himself or herself of (and that he or she knew required compensation). There are specific situations that rise to the level of theft of service charges.

For Example

For a theft of service charge to stick, at least one of the following scenarios must apply:

  • The performance of the service in question must have been intentionally (or knowingly) obtained via deception, fraud, or false tokens.

  • The accused must have had control over the service’s disposition and, in the context of this control, must have intentionally (or knowingly) diverted the delivery of the service for his or her own benefit (or for the benefit of someone else who was not entitled to the service).

  • The accused retained possession of rental property after the terms of the rental period had expired (thus depriving the property’s owner of the opportunity to continue renting the property out for his or her own benefit).

  • The accused intentionally (or knowingly) secured the performance of someone else’s services by agreeing to pay for them, but once they had been rendered, failed to make full payment (even after receiving appropriate notice demanding payment).

Finally, for the alleged crime to be designated theft of service, the accused must have either actually refused to pay for services rendered or must have withheld payment due for longer than is considered normal or expected.

Charge Classification

Theft of service charges can range from misdemeanors all the way to felony charges – depending upon the value of the services involved. Consider the following:

  • Theft of service for services valued under $100 is a Class C misdemeanor.

  • Theft of service for services valued from $100 to $750 is a Class B misdemeanor.

  • Theft of service for services valued from $750 to $2,500 is a Class A misdemeanor.

  • Theft of service for services valued from $2,500 to $30,000 becomes a state jail felony.

  • Theft of service for services valued from $30,000 to $150,000 is a third-degree felony.

  • Theft of service for services valued from $150,000 to $300,000 is a second-degree felony.

  • Theft of service for services that exceed a value of $300,000 is a first-degree felony.

These charges are serious, and if you find yourself facing any one of them, it’s time to seek the professional legal counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

An Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Attorney Is on Your Side

Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – serving Killeen, Texas – is a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who dedicates his practice to helping clients like you obtain beneficial case resolutions. To learn more about how we can also help you, please do not wait to reach out and contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.

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