A theft occurs when a person unlawfully takes property with the intention of taking it away from its owner. To be considered theft, this act must be done without the owner’s consent. It is also considered theft when a person takes control of property they know has been stolen by another person. For example, if someone offers you an Xbox 360 that they took from someone else’s car, and you agree to take it knowing it was stolen, you can be liable for the theft of the machine.
The state of Texas classifies many different forms of theft under one label. Crimes such as theft by false pretext, shoplifting, swindling, theft by worthless check, embezzlement, extortion, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, and receiving stolen property are all considered theft. The seriousness of the charge a person will face when accused of theft will depend upon the value of the property.
There are other crimes that are classified as theft in the state of Texas. Theft of Service is one of these crimes. Theft of service occurs when a person intentionally obtains services that require compensation and then avoids or refuses to make payment for the services they receive. This can include taking possession of rental property, such as a rental car, and then keeping the property past the rental date, denying the use of the property to the owner, and refusing to pay for the additional time the property has been kept. One common example of Theft of Service occurs when individuals “Dine and Dash.” Individuals will go into a restaurant, order and eat a meal, and then leave without paying for the services they have received. Stealing a service such as cable television is also considered theft of services.
Yet another, and increasingly common, crime considered as theft if the passing of a worthless check. This form of theft occurs when a person obtains services or property by passing a check for payment when insufficient funds exist to cover the payment of the check. To be considered a worthless check, the person must not have an account at the bank of financial institution the check is drafted from, or the person refused to submit payment after being notified they have insufficient funds to honor the check.