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2021 Expunction Case Law Update

2021 Expunction Update: Ex parte R.P.G.P.

The Texas Supreme Court released a major opinion regarding expunction law that will upend legal thinking about expunction matters statewide. If you have a misdemeanor case that was dismissed but you have never been able to get it expunged, this may change things for you.

In May of 2021, in Ex Parte R.P.G.P.,1 the Texas Supreme Court concluded that the Texas courts of appeal have been incorrectly classifying which expunction laws were “arrest-based” or “charge-based.” Why is this important? It’s important because many thousands of people have been denied expunctions on the basis that, even thought their case was dismissed, they were convicted of some other offense that arose from the same arrest. The Supreme Court has now made it clear that many of these people who have dismissed cases may now qualify for an expunction – but there are certain caveats.

Do you need to obtain an Order of Expunction to erase your criminal record? Call attorney Paul Saputo at (888) 239-9305 to get an intake form to book your expunction consultation.

At issue in Ex Parte R.P.G.P. was whether the petitioner (the arrested person – the person who wanted the expunction) was entitled to the expunction of a DWI after his case had been dismissed pursuant to a pretrial intervention program when he had also been charged with, and ultimately placed on deferred adjudication for, possession of marijuana. Both the possession of marijuana case and the DWI case had been dismissed.

Normally a dismissal pursuant to a pretrial intervention program would entitle you to an expunction. But, if the law was “arrest-based” and you had two charges out of the same arrest (as the petitioner had here), and one of those charges resulted in a deferred adjudication probation order, then even if the deferred case ended up dismissed as well, you would not be entitled to an expunction. However, if the law was “charge-based,” then you would be entitled to an expunction for the case that you successfully completed the pretrial intervention program on.

The court did an in-depth statutory analysis and concluded that expunctions based on pretrial intervention dismissals were in fact charged-based and decided the the petitioner was entitled to an expunction. But the court went even further. The court concluded that entire statutory subsection was charge-based for misdemeanors and that there was essentially only a narrow set of expunctions that would be considered arrest-based.

Please visit our expunction eligibility page for an in-depth analysis of the current law. And if you think that you might qualify for an expunction based on this new case law, please book an appointment to speak with us!


Legal References:

1 Ex parte R.P.G.P., No. 19-1051, 2021 Tex. LEXIS 394 (May 14, 2021)