Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
Appeal from the 416th Judicial District Court Collin County,
Texas, Trial Court Cause No. 416-01557-2016
Justices Bridges, Molberg, and Partida-Kipness.
L. BRIDGES JUSTICE.
Texas Department of Public Safety appeals the trial
court's order granting expunction of F.A.V.'s theft
charge. In a single issue, the Department argues F.A.V. was
not entitled to expunction of any records of his March 21,
2013 arrest because he failed to prove he met the statutory
requirements. We reverse the trial court's order and
render an order denying F.A.V.'s petition for expunction.
March 21, 2013, F.A.V. was arrested for the offense of theft
of more than $50 but less than $500. At that time, F.A.V. had
outstanding warrants for a November 30, 2012 offense of
disregarding an official traffic control device and a
December 15, 2012 offense of violating a promise to appear at
a court date set for the traffic control device offense.
F.A.V. was placed on six months' deferred adjudication
probation on January 3, 2014, and he successfully completed
the six-month probationary period and the charges against him
were dismissed. F.A.V. filed a petition to expunge the
records related to the theft charge and, on August 23, 2018,
the trial court signed an order granting expunction of the
theft charge. This appeal followed.
single issue, the Department argues F.A.V. was not entitled
to have the records related to his theft charge expunged. We
review a trial court's ruling on a petition for
expunction for abuse of discretion. State v. T.S.N.,
547 S.W.3d 617, 620 (Tex. 2018). However, to the extent a
ruling on expunction turns on a question of law, we review
any legal conclusions de novo. See id.; see also
Collin Cty. Dist. Attorney's Office v. Fourrier, 453
S.W.3d 536, 539 (Tex. App.- Dallas 2014, no pet.).
is a statutorily created remedy that allows a person who has
been arrested for the commission of an offense to have the
records and files relating to the arrest expunged if the
person meets the statutory requirements of article 55.01 of
the code of criminal procedure. Fourrier, 453 S.W.3d
at 539; see also Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art.
55.01. The purpose of the expunction statute is to
"protect wrongfully-accused people by eradicating their
arrest records." In re State Bar of Texas, 440
S.W.3d 621, 622 (Tex. 2014). Because the cause of action is
created by statute, all of its provisions are mandatory and
require strict compliance for the action to be sustained.
Fourrier, 453 S.W.3d at 539; see also
T.S.N., 547 S.W.3d at 620 ("A person is not
entitled to expunction until all of the statutory conditions
are met."). The trial court has no equitable power to
extend the protections of the expunction statute beyond the
statute's stated provisions. Fourrier, 453
S.W.3d at 539. Although the expunction statute appears in the
code of criminal procedure, an expunction proceeding is civil
in nature and the petitioner carries the burden of proving
compliance with the statutory requirements. Id.
sought expunction pursuant to "Article
55.01(a)(2)(A)" of the code of criminal procedure.
Article 55.01(a)(2) provides, in pertinent part:
(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, provided that:
(A) regardless of whether any statute of limitations exists
for the offense and whether any limitations period for the
offense has expired, an indictment or information charging
the person with the commission of a misdemeanor offense based
on the person's arrest or charging with the commission of
any felony offense arising out of the same transaction for
which the person was arrested:
(i) has not been presented against the person at any time
following the arrest, and:
(a)at least 180 days have elapsed from the date of arrest if
the arrest for which the expunction was sought was for an
offense punishable as a Class C misdemeanor and if there was
no felony charge arising out of the same transaction for
which the person was arrested;
(b) at least one year has elapsed from the date of arrest if
the arrest for which expunction was sought was for an offense
punishable as a Class B or A misdemeanor and if there was no
felony charge arising out of the ...