Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the 437th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2017-W-0521 Honorable Lori I. Valenzuela, Judge
Sitting: Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice Irene Rios, Justice
Beth Watkins, Justice.
Ruben Rios appeals the trial court's order denying his
petition for expunction filed in the underlying cause. We
affirm the trial court's denial of Rios's petition
November 14, 2012, the State filed an information in County
Court Case No. 409540 alleging Rios committed the offense of
driving while intoxicated on or about May 12, 2012. On
October 2, 2013, in County Court Case No. 439052, the State
filed another information alleging Rios committed the offense
of driving while intoxicated on or about September 28, 2013.
On March 24, 2014, Rios pleaded no contest to driving while
intoxicated in Case No. 409540, and the trial court sentenced
Rios to two years' community supervision. On June 19,
2017, the trial court revoked Rios's community
supervision in Case No. 409540 and sentenced Rios to ten
years' imprisonment. On June 21, 2017, the trial court
signed a judgment of acquittal, granting Rios's motion
for directed verdict and finding Rios not guilty of driving
while intoxicated in Case No. 439052.
14, 2017, Rios filed a petition for expunction, seeking
expunction of all criminal records and files relating to Case
No. 439052 for which Rios was acquitted. On July 21, 2017,
the trial court signed an "Order of Expunction Following
Acquittal," granting Rios relief and ordered the
expunction of all records and files related to the arrest
and/or alleged offense described in the petition. On August
23, 2017, the Texas Department of Public Safety ("the
Department") filed its First Amended Motion for New
Trial, which was set for a hearing on October 2, 2017. On
October 3, 2017, the trial court signed an order that granted
the Department's motion for new trial and set aside its
prior expunction. See Ex parte Rios, No.
04-17-00652-CV, 2018 WL 4903070, at *1 (Tex. App.-San Antonio
Oct. 10, 2018, no pet.). Rios appealed the order granting the
Department's motion for new trial. Id. This
court dismissed Rios's appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
Id. at *2.
then requested the trial court set a hearing on Rios's
motion for rehearing on the Department's motion for new
trial. On March 4, 2019, the trial court denied Rios's
petition for expunction. This appeal followed.
first issue, Rios contends the trial court erred by denying
his petition for expunction because the offense for which he
was acquitted did not arise out of the same criminal episode
as the offense for which he was convicted. Rios additionally
contends, in his second issue, that "[t]he trial
court's application of 'criminal episode' as
applied by the court's [sic] in the expunction context,
flies in the face of double jeopardy considerations."
a trial court's ruling on a petition for expunction is
reviewed for an abuse of discretion, a trial court "has
no discretion in deciding what the law is or in applying it
to the facts." State v. T.S.N., 547 S.W.3d 617,
620 (Tex. 2018). Therefore, when a trial court's
expunction ruling turns on a question of law such as
statutory construction, it is subject to de novo review.
Id. Here, the trial court's expunction ruling
involves the interpretation and application of article
55.01(c) of the expunction statute; therefore, we review the
trial court's ruling de novo. See id.; Ex
parte Expunction of J.B., 564 S.W.3d 436, 439 (Tex.
App.-El Paso 2016, no pet.).
Arising Out of the ...