Theft of Service Defense in Harris County


Theft of Service Defense in Harris County

If you or a loved one need a Houston criminal attorney for a theft offense, contact James Sullivan at (281) 546-6428 for a confidential consultation. Sullivan gets proven results in misdemeanor and felony criminal and juvenile cases in Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties. Sullivan attended Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College and was invited to join The National Trial Lawyers association.

TEXAS PENAL CODE

Sec. 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 presumed if:
(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 payment;  or
(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.

 

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