Texas Penal Code - Section 31.04. Theft Of Service
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Texas Laws > Penal Code > Texas Penal Code - Section 31.04. Theft Of Service
Section: 30.03 30.04 30.05 30.06 31.01 31.02 31.03 31.04 31.05 31.06 31.07 31.08 31.09 31.10 31.11
§ 31.04. THEFT OF SERVICE. (a) A person commits theft of
service if, with intent to avoid payment for service that he knows
is provided only for compensation:
(1) he intentionally or knowingly secures performance
of the service by deception, threat, or false token;
(2) having control over the disposition of services of
another to which he is not entitled, he intentionally or knowingly
diverts the other's services to his own benefit or to the benefit of
another not entitled to them;
(3) having control of personal property under a
written rental agreement, he 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; or
(4) he intentionally or knowingly secures the
performance of the service by agreeing to provide compensation and,
after the service is rendered, fails to make payment after
receiving notice demanding payment.
(b) For purposes of this section, intent to avoid payment is
(1) the actor absconded without paying for the service
or expressly refused to pay for the service in circumstances where
payment is ordinarily made immediately upon rendering of the
service, as in hotels, campgrounds, recreational vehicle parks,
restaurants, and comparable establishments;
(2) the actor failed to make payment under a service
agreement within 10 days after receiving notice demanding payment;
(3) the actor 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
(4) the actor failed to return the property held under
a rental agreement:
(A) within five days after receiving notice
demanding return, if the property is valued at less than $1,500; or
(B) within three days after receiving notice
demanding return, if the property is valued at $1,500 or more.
(c) For purposes of Subsections (a)(4), (b)(2), and (b)(4),
notice shall be notice in writing, sent by registered or certified
mail with return receipt requested or by telegram with report of
delivery requested, and addressed to the actor at his address shown
on the rental agreement or service agreement.
(d) If written notice is given in accordance with Subsection
(c), it is presumed that the notice was received no later than five
days after it was sent.
(e) An offense under this section is:
(1) a Class C misdemeanor if the value of the service
stolen is less than $20;
(2) a Class B misdemeanor if the value of the service
stolen is $20 or more but less than $500;
(3) a Class A misdemeanor if the value of the service
stolen is $500 or more but less than $1,500;
(4) a state jail felony if the value of the service
stolen is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000;
(5) a felony of the third degree if the value of the
service stolen is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000;
(6) a felony of the second degree if the value of the
service stolen is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000; or
(7) a felony of the first degree if the value of the
service stolen is $200,000 or more.
(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, any
police or other report of stolen vehicles by a political
subdivision of this state shall include on the report any rental
vehicles whose renters have been shown to such reporting agency to
be in violation of Subsection (b)(2) and shall indicate that the
renting agency has complied with the notice requirements demanding
return as provided in this section.
(g) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:
(1) 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
(2) 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.
Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974.
Amended by Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 1138, ch. 429, § 1, eff. Aug.
29, 1977; Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 2920, ch. 497, § 4, eff. Sept.
1, 1983; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 565, § 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1991;
Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, § 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994; Acts
1995, 74th Leg., ch. 479, § 1, eff. Aug. 28, 1995; Acts 1999,
76th Leg., ch. 843, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th
Leg., ch. 1245, § 1, 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg.,
ch. 419, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.
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Last modified: August 11, 2007