Court of Appeals of Texas, Twelfth District, Tyler
FROM THE 7TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT SMITH COUNTY, TEXAS
consisted of Worthen, C.J., Hoyle, J., and Neeley, J.
State of Texas appeals the trial court's order granting
an expunction of Caleb Daley's arrest for online
solicitation of a minor. In a single issue, the State
contends the trial court erred by granting the expunction. We
was arrested on October 28, 2010, and subsequently charged
with online solicitation of a minor that allegedly occurred
on or about October 7, 2010. Pursuant to a plea agreement,
Daley pleaded "guilty" and the court sentenced him
to ten years deferred adjudication community supervision.
While Daley was serving his community supervision, the Texas
Court of Criminal Appeals held that Section 33.021(b) of the
Texas Penal Code, the statute applicable to Daley's
arrest, was unconstitutionally overbroad. See Ex parte
Lo, 424 S.W.3d 10 (Tex. Crim. App. 2013). Daley was
subsequently released from the conditions of his community
supervision and his criminal case was dismissed.
2017, Daley filed a petition to expunge all criminal records
and files relating to the October 28, 2010 arrest. In his
motion, Daley alleged that he had been released and the
charge did not result in a final conviction. He further
contended that the indictment had been dismissed and that his
case was vacated, set aside, and any and all orders in the
case were dismissed. Following a hearing, the trial court
granted Daley's petition. This appeal followed.
only issue, the State contends Daley was not entitled to
expunction of his arrest record because he served community
supervision as a result of the arrest.
review a trial court's order granting or denying a
petition for expunction for abuse of discretion. See
Heine v. Tex. Dep't of Pub. Safety, 92 S.W.3d 642,
646 (Tex. App.-Austin 2002, pet. denied). A trial court
abuses its discretion if it acts "without reference to
any guiding rules or principles." E.I. du Pont de
Nemours & Co. v. Robinson, 923 S.W.2d 549, 558 (Tex.
1995). If an expunction ruling turns on a question of law, we
review it de novo because a "trial court has no
'discretion' in determining what the law is or
applying the law to the facts." See Walker v.
Packer, 827 S.W.2d 833, 840 (Tex. 1992). A trial court
abuses its discretion if it misinterprets or misapplies the
the law that governs expunctions is part of the code of
criminal procedure, an expunction proceeding is civil in
nature and is governed by the rules of civil procedure.
See Carson v. State, 65 S.W.3d 774, 784 (Tex.
App.-Fort Worth 2001, no pet.). Expunction is not a
constitutional or common law right, but purely a statutory
privilege. Tex. Dep't of Pub. Safety v. Nail,
305 S.W.3d 673, 675 (Tex. App.-Austin 2010, no pet.). The
trial court must strictly comply with statutory requirements,
and has no equitable power to extend the clear meaning of the
statute. Harris Cty. Dist. Attorney v. Lacafta, 965
S.W.2d 568, 569 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1997, no
Code of Criminal Procedure Article 55.01(a)(2) states, in
relevant part, that a person who has been placed under a
custodial or noncustodial arrest for commission of either a
felony or misdemeanor is entitled to have all records and
files relating to the arrest expunged if (1) the person has
been released, (2) the charge, if any, has not resulted in a
final conviction, (3) the charge, if any, is no longer
pending, and (4) there was no court-ordered community
supervision under Article 42.12 for the offense, unless the
offense is a Class C misdemeanor. See Tex. Code
Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 55.01(a)(2) (West 2018). "The
traditional and primary purpose of the expunction statute is
to remove records of wrongful arrests." S.J. v.
State, 438 S.W.3d 838, 841 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 2014,
no pet.). Thus, the expunction statute is
"arrest-based" and expunction is not available for
less than all offenses arising from one arrest. Id.
at 844; but see State v. T.S.N., No. 17-0323, 2018
WL 2169785, at *6 (Tex. March 1, 2018) (holding that Article
55.01 is not entirely arrest-based but declining to address
the specifics of 55.01(a)(2)); see also Black's
Law Dictionary 116, 248, 1110 (8th ed. 2004) (defining an
"arrest, " in pertinent part, as a "taking or
keeping of a person in custody by legal authority, esp. in
response to a criminal charge, " whereas a
"charge" accuses someone of an offense, i.e., a
"violation of the law"). In other words, a person
is not entitled to have any arrest records expunged under
Article 55.01(a)(2) when a charge is dismissed, but that
dismissal results in a final conviction of any charge arising
from the same arrest. See Tex. Dep't of Public ...