Woman who allegedly faked DWI cases indicted

January 30, 2009 4:55:53 PM PST
A former DPS contractor was indicted by a grand jury for tampering with government records. She's accused of faking records on hundreds of DWI cases that could now be in jeopardy.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Friday's indictment could mean a do-over for thousands of DWI cases in three counties. Prosecutors admit the cases would be tainted at best, possibly ruined entirely.

Deetrice Wallace's indictment is really just the beginning of this story.

It's a story that has the potential to unwind 4,000 DWI cases across our area. A contracted DWI technical supervisor, Wallace was supposed to certify that DPS breathalyzers were working properly. In other words, that you were drunk when the machine said you were. The District Attorney's office said she wasn't doing it.

"It jeopardizes the reliability of test strips used to obtain convictions," said Assistant Harris County District Attorney Terese Buess,

Wallace worked for DPS since 1996. The DA's office is going back over all the cases she may've touched and reviewing every single one of them. If the case resulted in a conviction, the DA's office will notify the convicted drunk driver, throw out the breath test evidence, and start the process all over again.

"She's going to cost a ton," said Buess.

That is money you the taxpayer will have to pay, not the woman who was charged. The DA's office said it is the only way to ensure fairness.

"In the interest of justice, we are pulling the records. If you were convicted based on these records, we will make contact with you," said Buess.

For Doug Murphy, a DWI defense attorney, that's not enough.

"They should let those cases go," said Murphy.

On Friday, Murphy tried to get a case thrown out of court based on Wallace's potentially faulty results. Even though the DA knew Wallace was involved, they wouldn't dismiss the case, deciding instead to rely on other evidence.

"If they're talking about public integrity here and they're trying to increase the public confidence in these breath testing machines, they should let them go," said Murphy.

If there is video or other evidence of a driver's state of intoxication, the cases could go forward. However, if the test is bad and it was the only evidence, there may be no other choice but to dismiss the case and work to clear someone's record.

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