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State v. T.S.N.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas

February 22, 2017

THE STATE OF TEXAS, Appellant
v.
T.S.N., Appellee

         On Appeal from the 366th Judicial District Court Collin County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 366-02723-2015

          Before Justices Bridges, Lang-Miers, and Schenck

          OPINION

          DAVID J. SCHENCK, JUSTICE

         The State appeals the trial court's order granting T.S.N.'s petition for expunction of criminal records related to her arrest and subsequent acquittal for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. In a single issue, the State asserts the trial court erred by granting expunction because T.S.N. was not exonerated of a separate theft offense for which she was also arrested.[1]Thus, the issue before this Court is whether T.S.N.'s guilty plea to the theft charge precludes expunction of records related to the aggravated assault charge for which she was acquitted. We conclude it does not. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's order of expunction.

         Background

         On October 15, 2010, T.S.N. was charged with the misdemeanor offense of theft by check. Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 31.06 (West Supp. 2016). The theft was alleged to have occurred in 2009. A warrant was issued for her arrest on that charge on November 16, 2010.

         Over two and one-half years later, on June 11, 2013, T.S.N. was arrested on an unrelated felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Tex. Penal Code Ann. §§ 22.01, 22.02 (West 2014). The arrest stemmed from T.S.N.'s attempt to stop the repossession of her vehicle. During the course of that arrest, the responding officer discovered the outstanding warrant on the theft charge, and took the opportunity to execute that warrant at the same time.

         The theft charge was filed in County Court at Law No. 6 in Collin County under cause number 006-87850-10. The aggravated assault charge was filed in the 366th Judicial District Court in Collin County under cause number 366-82065-2015. T.S.N. pleaded guilty to the theft charge on June 27, 2013, and was convicted. Thereafter, her supervision was revoked, and she was sentenced to forty-five days in jail. As to the aggravated assault charge, T.S.N. pleaded not guilty and a jury acquitted her of that offense.

         T.S.N. filed a petition for expunction in the 366th Judicial District Court seeking to expunge all records and files related to her arrest for aggravated assault pursuant to article 55.01(a)(1)(A) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 55.01(a)(1)(A) (West Supp. 2016). T.S.N. did not seek to expunge any of the records related to the misdemeanor theft offense to which she had pleaded guilty and had been convicted. The State and the Texas Department of Public Safety opposed the petition for expunction, arguing T.S.N. was not entitled to an expunction of the requested records because she was convicted of an offense for which she was simultaneously arrested, namely theft.

         At the expunction hearing, the parties stipulated to the following facts. T.S.N. was charged by information for the misdemeanor offense of theft on October 15, 2010, for checks she wrote on May 10, May 13, and November 17, 2009. On November 16, 2010, Collin County Court at Law No. 6 issued a warrant for T.S.N.'s arrest on the theft charge. On June 11, 2013, T.S.N. was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. When she was arrested, the police also executed the arrest warrant previously issued by the Collin County Court at Law. T.S.N. pleaded guilty to the theft charge on June 27, 2013, and she was convicted. T.S.N. pleaded not guilty to the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge and was acquitted by a jury on June 10, 2015.

         At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court granted T.S.N.'s petition for expunction. The State perfected this appeal challenging the trial court's ruling.

         Standard of Review

         We review a trial court's ruling on a petition for expunction for an abuse of discretion. Ex parte Jackson, 132 S.W.3d 713, 715 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2004, no pet.). A trial court abuses its discretion if it fails to analyze or apply the law correctly. Collin Cnty. Dist. Attorney's Office v. Fourrier, 453 S.W.3d 536, 539 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2014, no pet.). Thus, to the extent a ruling on an expunction request turns on a question of law, we review that ruling de novo because a trial court has no discretion in determining what the law is or in applying the law to the facts. Tex. Dep't of Pub. Safety v. Dicken, 415 S.W.3d 476, 478 (Tex. App.-San Antonio ...


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