Have you been arrested and charged with “theft of service” under Section 31.04 of the Texas Penal Code? If so, you may be wondering what “theft of service” is exactly. After all, it’s not one of those criminal charges like “drug possession” or “DWI” that you hear about frequently.
A person commits the offense of “theft of service” when they intentionally avoid payment for a service they know is provided for compensation. A person can be charged with theft of service when they receive services and leave the establishment without paying or if they refuse to pay for the services received for some reason.
Examples of theft of service under the Texas Penal Code:
- Dining at a restaurant and leaving without paying
- Receiving a massage at a massage parlor and refusing to pay
- Getting one’s nails done at a nail salon and leaving without paying
- Getting one’s hair done at a hair salon and not paying for the services
- Having one’s house cleaned and refusing to pay the person who cleaned it
- Not paying a gardener after they mowed a lawn
- Picking up dry-cleaning and running out the door without paying
- Refusing to pay someone who does mobile tanning
- Not paying a dog groomer after they groomed the person’s dog
Is it a Misdemeanor or Felony?
Theft of service is a breed of theft crime, which can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of the services not paid for.
- Class C misdemeanor when the value of services is less than $100;
- Class B misdemeanor when the value of services is more than $100 but less than $750;
- Class A misdemeanor when the value of services is more than $750 but less than $2,500;
- State jail felony when the value of services exceeds $2,500 but is less than $30,000.
- A felony of the third degree when the value of services exceeds $30,000 but is less than $150,000.
- A felony of the second or first degree in the most severe cases (contact us with questions).
If you’re facing misdemeanor or felony charges for stealing services, contact Derek A. Adame, Attorney at Law for a hard-hitting defense.