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DA’s Office Receives Grant for Program to Prosecute Drug-Impaired Driving Cases

November 14, 2016

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif – The Riverside County Board of Supervisors recently approved a state grant for the District Attorney’s Office to continue the funding of a program specifically tasked with aggressively prosecuting those people who decide to drive while under the influence of drugs.

The DA’s Office received the grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to help prevent impaired driving and to reduce the number of drug-impaired traffic fatalities and injuries.

A grant for $624,712 funding the Drug Impaired Driver Vertical Prosecution Program was approved by the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 20, 2016. Through this program, the DA’s Office will have three deputy district attorneys prosecuting misdemeanor drug-impaired driving cases across the county. Vertical prosecution means the same prosecutor or prosecution team handles the case from arrest through conviction and sentencing.

From July through September of this year, the DA’s Office filed 328 misdemeanor cases countywide of driving under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol.

Under the grant, prosecution team members will work with the state’s Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Program to expand knowledge and resources in the office by obtaining and delivering specialized training, including training in the emerging problem of drug-impaired driving. Team members will share information with peers and law enforcement personnel throughout the county and across the state. Prosecutors will also attend specialized training including seminars sponsored by OTS and the California District Attorneys Association.

The grant period runs for a two-year period from Oct. 1, 2016, through Sept. 30, 2017. Funding comes from grants by OTS, through the National Highway Traffic Administration.

In Riverside County in 2013 (the most recent year of statistics made available by OTS), 100 people were killed and 1,298 others injured in crashes caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, according to state statistics.

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