Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 968
By: Bivins
Public Safety


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. Senate
Bill 968 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. 


Senate Bill 968 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.