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Theft of Service Charges in Texas

When it comes to theft-related offenses under Title 7, Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code, not all theft crimes have to involve actual physical “property.” In Texas, you can get slapped with criminal charges if you take advantage of someone’s services, and refuse to pay for them.

Under Section 31.04 of the Texas Penal Code, a person commits the offense of “theft of service” if he or she intentionally receives a service but fails to pay for it. People often commit the offense of theft of service after receiving services from the following types of establishments:

  • Bars
  • Hotels
  • Campgrounds
  • Restaurants
  • Nail salons
  • Massage businesses
  • Recreational vehicle parks
  • And many more

While theft of service can occur at a variety of establishments, people often associate this crime with restaurants. You’ve probably heard the terms “dine and dash” or “dine and ditch” or “eat and run.” These all refer to dining and skipping out before paying the bill, usually while the server has their back turned.

In Texas, theft of services can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of services delivered, but not paid for.

For example, not paying for a $75.00 dinner would be a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500, or a Class B misdemeanor if the value of the services ranged between $100 and $750.

Under Title 3, Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code, a Class B misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,000, or up to 6 months in jail, or both.

On the other hand, if a woman spends an entire day at a posh salon or spa and she slips out before paying the $800 tab, she faces Class A misdemeanor charges, punishable by up to a $4,000 fine and up to one year in jail, or both.

Are you facing criminal charges?

As we demonstrated above, theft of services can have serious consequences, especially if the value of the services exceeds $750. If you are being accused of stealing services, we urge you to contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to schedule a consultation with an experienced Plano criminal defense attorney!