Texas Criminal Law Newsletters


After a defendant is arrested, he or she is required to appear before a judge or magistrate. At this time, the defendant may request or a judge may set bail for the defendant’s release. Bail is cash or a cash equivalent that is given to the court to ensure that he or she will appear in court when ordered. If the defendant appears when he or she was ordered to, bail is refunded. However, if he or she fails to appear, the court keeps the bail and issues a warrant for his or her arrest.


A person commits the federal offense of extortion if he or she transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any demand or request for ransom or for a reward for the release of a kidnapped person, any threat to kidnap or injure another person, or any threat to injure the property or reputation of another person or to accuse another person of a crime with the intent to extort. The federal offense of extortion applies to both interstate and foreign telephone calls and other forms of communication. As long as the communication crosses state or national borders, the communication is considered to involve interstate or foreign commerce.


Mail and wire fraud involves the use of the mail system to defraud other individuals. To be found guilty of mail fraud the following elements must be proved: The defendant’s intent to defraud another individual; the defendant’s scheme to defraud another individual; the defendant actually mailed the materials in question.


A public servant is a governmental officer, employee, or agent, a juror or a grand juror, an arbitrator or a referee, an attorney or a notary public, a political party official or a political candidate, or anyone who is performing a governmental function. A person is a public servant even if he or she has only been elected to office and has not assumed the duties of his or her office.


A person commits the offense of voluntary manslaughter when he or she commits murder under the immediate influence of sudden passion that arises from an adequate cause. Sudden passion is also referred to as “heat of passion.”

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