THEFT

TEXAS PENAL CODE
TITLE 5. OFFENSES AGAINST THE PROPERTY
CHAPTER 31. THEFT

The following is a brief explanation of Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code regarding THEFT. This is not to be construed as legal advice for any particular case. See also the full text of Chapter 31. Theft.

What is THEFT?

Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of THEFT in Texas.

Under Section 31.03, THEFT is defined as follows:

  • THEFT occurs when a person takes control of another’s property and intends to deprive the owner of their property without the owners consent.
    • THEFT also extends to third parties who take control of stolen property knowing that the property was stolen.

The range of possible punishments for a Theft offense vary by amount, as follows:

  • Class C misdemeanor Theft (punishable by a fine up to $500)
    • Theft Less than $100
  • Class B misdemeanor Theft (punishable up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine)
    • Theft Between $100-$750
    • Theft of less than $100 if the person has a prior theft conviction
    • The property that was stolen is a drivers license, commercial driver’s license, or personal identification certificate issued by this state or another state
  • Class A Misdemeanor Theft (punishable up to 1 year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine)
    • Theft between $750-$2500
  • State Jail Felony Theft (punishable up to 2 years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine)
    • Theft between $2500-$30,000
    • Theft from a corpse or grave
    • Theft of a firearm
    • Theft of a value less than $2500 AND the defendant has been convicted 2 or more times of theft (regardless of the value of the previous thefts)
    • Property stolen is scrap metal under $20,000
  • Felony 3rd Degree Theft (punishable up to 10 years and up to a $10,000 fine)
    • Theft of a value between $30,000-$150,000
  • Felony 2nd Degree Theft (punishable up to 20 years in confinement and up to a $10,000 fine)
    • Theft of a vlue between $150,000-$300,000
    • Theft of a value less than $300,000 and the property is an ATM machine or its components
  • Felony 1st Degree Theft (punishable up to 99 years confinement and a up to a $10,000 fine)
    • Theft of more than $300,000

What is THEFT OF SERVICE?

Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of THEFT OF SERVICE in Texas.

Under Section 30.04, THEFT OF SERVICE is defined as follows:

  • A THEFT OF SERVICE occurs when a person receives a service by agreeing to provide payment for that service, but after the service is rendered then fails to make full payment for the service.

THEFT OF SERVICE punishments follow the same punishment structure as THEFT above based on the value of the theft.

What is THEFT OF TRADE SECRETS?

Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime THEFT OF TRADE SECRETS in Texas.

Under Section 31.05, THEFT OF TRADE SECRETS is defined as follows:

  • A THEFT OF TRADE SECRETS occurs when a person steals a trade secret, makes a copy of an article representing a trade secret, OR communicates a trade secret without the owner’s consent.
  • “Trade secret” means the whole or any part of any scientific or technical information, design, process, procedure, formula, or improvement that has value and that the owner has taken measures to
    prevent from becoming available to persons other than those selected by the owner to have access for limited purposes.

THEFT OF TRADE SECRETS is a 3rd degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in confinement and up to $10,000 fine.

What is THEFT BY CHECK?

Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of THEFT BY CHECK in Texas.

Under Section 31.06, THEFT BY CHECK is defined in two ways, as follows:

  • A THEFT BY CHECK occurs when a person writes a check and that person does not have an account with the bank that the person is writing a check from.
  • A THEFT BY CHECK also occurs when a person writes a check on an account with insufficient funds, and the writer of the check fails to pay the amount owed within 10 day of the notification of insufficient funds.

THEFT BY CHECK follows the same punishment guidelines as THEFT above based on the values.

What is UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A VEHICLE?

Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A VEHICLE in Texas.

Under Section 31.07, UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A VEHICLE is defined, as follows:

  • UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A VEHICLE occurs when a person knowingly or intentionally operates a vehicle without the consent of the owner.
  • UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A VEHICLE is a state jail felony punishable by confinement in of up to 2 years and a fine of $10,000.

UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A VEHICLE is a state jail felony punishable up to 2 years confinement and $10,000 fine.

What is TAMPERING WITH IDENTIFICATION NUMBERS?

Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of TAMPERING WITH IDENTIFICATION NUMBERS in Texas.

Under Section 31.11, TAMPERING WITH IDENTIFICATION NUMBERS is defined, as follows:

  • TAMPERING WITH IDENTIFICATION NUMBERS occurs when a person knowingly removes or changes a serial number on tangible personal property they posses or intend to sell.

TAMPERING WITH IDENTIFICATION NUMBERS is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $4000 and 1 year confinement.

What is THEFT OR TAMPERING WITH MULTICHANNEL VIDEO OR INFORMATION SERVICES?

Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of THEFT OR TAMPERING WITH MULTICHANNEL VIDEO OR INFORMATION SERVICES in Texas.

Under Section 31.12, THEFT OR TAMPERING WITH MULTICHANNEL VIDEO OR INFORMATION SERVICES is defined, as follows:

  • THEFT OR TAMPERING WITH MULTICHANNEL VIDEO OR INFORMATION SERVICES occurs when a person knowingly connects or tampers with a cable or Internet service line without authorization from the cable or Internet Company.

THEFT OR TAMPERING WITH MULTICHANNEL VIDEO OR INFORMATION SERVICES is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500.

What is MANUFACTURE DISTRIBUTION, OR ADVERTISEMENT OF MULTICHANNEL VIDEO OR INFORMATION SERVICES DEVICE ?

Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of MANUFACTURE, DISTRIBUTION, OR ADVERTISEMENT OF MULTICHANNEL VIDEO OR INFORMATION SERVICES DEVICE in Texas.

Under Section 31.13, MANUFACTURE, DISTRIBUTION, OR ADVERTISEMENT OF MULTICHANNEL VIDEO OR INFORMATION SERVICES DEVICE is defined, as follows:

  • MANUFACTURE, DISTRIBUTION, OR ADVERTISEMENT OF MULTICHANNEL VIDEO OR INFORMATION SERVICES DEVICE occurs when a person manufactures or offers for sale a device that is meant to obtain service from the cable or internet provider without consent from the provider.

MANUFACTURE, DISTRIBUTION, OR ADVERTISEMENT OF MULTICHANNEL VIDEO OR INFORMATION SERVICES DEVICE is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $4000 and 1 year confinement.

What is POSSESSION, MANUFACTURE, OR DISTRIBUTION OF CERTAIN INSTRUMENTS USED TO COMMIT RETAIL THEFT?

Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of POSSESSION, MANUFACTURE, OR DISTRIBUTION OF CERTAIN INSTRUMENTS USED TO COMMIT RETAIL THEFT in Texas.

Under Section 31.15, POSSESSION, MANUFACTURE, OR DISTRIBUTION OF CERTAIN INSTRUMENTS USED TO COMMIT RETAIL THEFT is defined, in two ways:

  • POSSESSION, MANUFACTURE, OR DISTRIBUTION OF CERTAIN INSTRUMENTS USED TO COMMIT RETAIL THEFT occurs when a person, with the intention to commit a theft either:
    • Possesses a shielding or deactivation instrument, manufactures
    • Knowingly manufactures or distributes a shielding or deactivation instrument

POSSESSION, MANUFACTURE, OR DISTRIBUTION OF CERTAIN INSTRUMENTS USED TO COMMIT RETAIL THEFT is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $4000 and 1 year confinement.

What is ORGANIZED RETAIL THEFT?

Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of ORGANIZED RETAIL THEFT in Texas.

Under Section 31.16, ORGANIZED RETAIL THEFT is defined, in two ways:

  • ORGANIZED RETAIL THEFT occurs when a person intentionally conducts, promotes or facilitates and activity in which the person receives, possesses, conceals, stores, barters, sells, or disposes of:
    • Stolen retail merchandise or,
    • Merchandise is explicitly represented as being stolen merchandise

ORGANIZED RETAIL THEFT is :

  1. a Class C misdemeanor if the total value of the merchandise involved in the activity is less than $100;
  2. a Class B misdemeanor if the total value of the merchandise involved in the activity is $100 or more but less than $750;
  3. a Class A misdemeanor if the total value of the merchandise involved in the activity is $750 or more but less than $2,500;
  4. a state jail felony if the total value of the merchandise involved in the activity is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000;
  5. a felony of the third degree if the total value of the merchandise involved in the activity is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000;
  6. a felony of the second degree if the total value of the merchandise involved in the activity is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000; or
  7. a felony of the first degree if the total value of the merchandise involved in the activity is $300,000 or more.

*Punishment may be increased to the next level if:

  • The accused was in charge of the one or more persons involved in the theft
  • During the offense, the fire alarm was activated or deactivated
  • Use of a shielding device or deactivation instrument

What is UNATHORIZED ACQUISITION OR TRANSFER OF CERTAIN FINANCIAL INFORMATION?

Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of UNAUTHORIZED ACQUISITION OR TRANSFER OF CERTAIN FINANCIAL INFORMATION in Texas.

Under Section 31.17, UNAUTHORIZED ACQUISITION OR TRANSFER OF CERTAIN FINANCIAL INFORMATION is defined as:

  • UNAUTHORIZED ACQUISITION OR TRANSFER OF CERTAIN FINANCIAL INFORMATION occurs when a person obtains the financial information contained on a check or credit/debit card of another without consent, or transfers that information to a third party.

UNAUTHORIZED ACQUISITION OR TRANSFER OF CERTAIN FINANCIAL INFORMATION is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $2000 and 180 days confinement.

What is CARGO THEFT?

Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of CARGO THEFT in Texas.

Under Section 31.18, CARGO THEFT is defined, in two ways:

  • CARGO THEFT occurs when a person conducts or facilitates an activity where the person receives, possesses, or otherwise controls the stolen cargo.
  • CARGO THEFT occurs when a driver contracted to transport cargo fails to deliver the entire cargo to the destination or causes the seal to be broken on the vehicle or container the cargo is located in.

CARGO THEFT is:

  • a state jail felony if the total value of the cargo involved in the activity is $1,500 or more but less than $10,000
  • a felony of the third degree if the total value of the cargo involved in the activity is $10,000 or more but less than $100,000;
  • a felony of the second degree if the total value of the cargo involved in the activity is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000; or
  • a felony of the first degree if the total value of the cargo involved in the activity is $200,000 or more.

*An offense may be increased to the next level it can be shown that the accused was the leader of the cargo theft, when there is more than one person involved.

FORT WORTH

Primary Location
209 W. 8th St
Fort Worth, TX 76102
817.993.9249

KELLER

*By Appointment Only
204 S. Main St #195
Keller, Texas 76248
817.482.6770