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Is Stealing Cable a Crime?

If a person is technically savvy and they live in a house, it may not take them long to realize that it’s not too difficult to “tap into” the local cable services. You screw a wire in here, and connect another one over there and suddenly you have free cable.

It seems innocent enough, after all, it all takes place on one’s own property, but the cable companies and the law don’t see it that way. Stealing cable is technically a theft crime and depending on the circumstances, can be prosecuted as a Class A, B, or C misdemeanor under Section 31.12 of the Texas Penal Code.

Section 32.12 of the Texas Penal Code

Under Sec. 32.12, stealing cable is called “Theft of or Tampering with Multichannel Video or Information Services.”

According to the law, a person steals cable when they intentionally make or maintain a connection to a cable, wire, or other component to a multichannel video or information service system physically, electronically, or inductively to a television, video recorder, or another type of receiver.

Tampering with, modifying, or maintaining a modification to a device that was installed by a cable company is also criminalized under Sec. 32.12.

Stealing cable is:

  • A Class A misdemeanor if the person stole cable for the purposes of receiving payment. For example, the person hooked up someone else’s cable illegally and was paid for their services.
  • A Class B misdemeanor if the individual was previously convicted under this section.
  • All other cases, a Class C misdemeanor.

Under Sec. 32.12(e), each attachment, modification, connection, or act of tampering with cable services is prosecuted as a separate offense.

A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $4,000. A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000, and a Class C misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.

Are you in trouble with the law for allegedly stealing cable? Don’t let something like this lead to a permanent criminal record – contact our Plano criminal defense firm today!