Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
appeal from the 197th District Court of Cameron County,
Chief Justice Contreras and Justices Longoria and Perkes.
L. LONGORIA, JUSTICE.
the Texas Department of Public Safety (the Department),
argues on appeal that the trial court erred by granting
appellee Diana Polanco Garza's petition for expunction.
We affirm in part, and we reverse and render in part.
August 27, 1994, Garza was arrested and later charged by
indictment with possession and delivery of a controlled
substance (cocaine). See Tex. Health & Safety
Code Ann. §§ 481.102(3)(d), 481.112, 481.115(b)
(West, Westlaw through 2017 1st C.S.). Pursuant to a plea
agreement, the delivery charge was dismissed, and Garza
pleaded guilty to the possession charge. The trial court
sentenced Garza to seven years of deferred adjudication
September 18, 2017, Garza filed a petition to expunge all the
records relating to her 1994 arrest; Garza also sought to
expunge all records relating to an arrest in 1993, in which
she was allegedly charged with theft. See Tex. Penal
Code Ann. § 31.03 (West, Westlaw through 2017 1st C.S.).
On October 31, 2017, the Department filed an answer denying
that Garza was entitled to an expunction of the 1994 arrest
records because she served a term of community supervision
for that arrest. The Department did not address the 1993
arrest for theft. The trial court signed an order on November
8, 2017 granting the expunction of the records of both the
1993 and 1994 arrests. The Department filed a notice of
restricted appeal on April 24, 2018.
Standard of Review and Applicable Law
expunction proceedings are typically reviewed under an abuse
of discretion standard, when the trial court's ruling
turns on a question of law, it is reviewed de novo. See
Tex. Dep't of Pub. Safety v. Nail, 305 S.W.3d 673,
678 (Tex. App.-Austin 2010, no pet.); see also Ex parte
T.C., No. 12-13-00138-CV, 2014 WL 4104806, at *3 (Tex.
App.-Tyler Aug. 20, 2014, no pet.) (mem. op.). Under a de
novo standard, we conduct an independent analysis of the
record, giving no deference to the trial court's
conclusions. See Quick v. City of Austin, 7 S.W.3d
109, 116 (Tex. 1998). Statutory construction is also a
question of law that requires de novo review. See
McIntyre v. Ramirez, 109 S.W.3d 741, 745 (Tex. 2003).
expunction statute is intended to eradicate records of
wrongful arrests by allowing a person to remove all
information regarding his or her arrest. See In re
State Bar, 440 S.W.3d 621, 624 (Tex. 2014)
(orig. proceeding). Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal
Procedure sets forth the requirements and procedures
governing the expunction of criminal records. See
generally Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. arts. 55.01- 55.06
(West, Westlaw through 2017 1st C.S.). Under Article 55.01:
(a) 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:
. . .
(2) the person has been released and the charge, if any, has
not resulted in a final conviction and is no longer pending
and there was no court-ordered community supervision
under Chapter 42A for the offense, unless the offense is a
Class C misdemeanor . . . .
Id. art. 55.01(a)(2) (emphasis added). "[F]or a
petitioner to be entitled to expunction under article 55.01,
all charges arising from the arrest must meet that
article's requirements." S.J. v. State, 438
S.W.3d 838, 845 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 2014, no pet.)
(emphasis added). In other words, "individual charges
within an arrest" are not subject to expunction; an
arrest can only be expunged if every offense arising from
that arrest meets the requirements of article 55.01.
Id.; see Ex parte Vega, 510 S.W.3d 544, 548
(Tex. App.- Corpus Christi 2016, no pet.); Travis Cty.
Dist. Atty. v. M.M., 354 S.W.3d 920, 927 (Tex.
App.-Austin 2011, no pet.); see also Ex parte
M.R.L., No. 10-11-00275-CV, 2012 WL 763139, at *3 (Tex.
App.-Waco Mar. 7, 2012, pet. denied) ...