Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 1563
By: Smithee
Public Safety
Committee Report (Substituted)


With the recent increase in gasoline prices, gasoline retailers are
concerned about the increased number of thefts in which a person dispenses
gasoline into a vehicle and then drives away without paying, known as a
driveoff. A survey by the Texas Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store
Association answered by 28 percent of its members reported 527,718
driveoffs in 2000 with a total lost revenue of nearly $8 million. C.S.H.B.
1563 provides for the suspension and denial of the driver's license of a
person convicted of an offense of theft involving motor fuel. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


C.S.H.B. 1563 amends the Code of Criminal Procedure to require a judge to
enter an affirmative finding in the judgment in a case if the judge or
jury, whichever is the finder of fact, determines beyond a reasonable doubt
in the guilt or innocence phase of a theft trial that the defendant, in
committing the theft dispensed motor fuel into the fuel tank of a motor
vehicle on the premises of an establishment at which motor fuel is offered
for retail sale and left the premises without paying the establishment for
the motor fuel. If the judge enters such an affirmative action and
determines that the defendant has been previously convicted of motor fuel
theft, the bill requires a judge to enter a special affirmative finding in
the judgment of the case. 

The bill amends the Transportation Code to provide that a person's driver's
license is automatically suspended on final conviction of theft if the
judgment in the case contains a special affirmative finding.  The bill
prohibits Department of Public Safety (DPS) from issuing a driver's license
to a person convicted of motor fuel theft who on the date of the conviction
did not hold a driver's license. 

The bill provides that a license is suspended for motor fuel theft for 180
days after the date of a final conviction or one year if the person's
license has previously been suspended for motor fuel theft.  The bill
provides that the period of license denial is 180 days after the date the
person applies to DPS for reinstatement or issuance of a driver's license,
or one year if the person has previously had a license suspended or denied
for an offense of theft involving motor fuel. 


September 1, 2001.


C.S.H.B. 1563 differs from the original bill by requiring a judge to enter
an affirmative or special affirmative finding regarding motor fuel theft,
whereas the original established an offense of theft of motor fuel from a
retail store as a Class C misdemeanor.  The substitute does not provide for
license suspension on a first offense, whereas the original suspended a
license for six months on a first offense.  C.S.H.B. 1563 provides for a
license to be suspended for one year if a person has previously had their
license suspended for an offense of theft involving motor fuel, whereas the
original provided this suspension time period for a second offense.  The
substitute also provides for the denial of a driver's license to a person
who did not hold a license on the date of conviction and provides time
periods for the denial