November 15, 2018
El Dorado County District Attorney's Office Awarded
Special DUI Prosecution Grant
Those suspected of and arrested for driving under the
influence (DUI) in El Dorado County can expect to face highly trained,
specialized prosecutors, thanks to a grant from the California Office of
Traffic Safety (OTS).
The $200,978.00 grant to the El Dorado County District Attorney's Office will fund a Vertical Prosecution team that will manage and prosecute DUI cases.
"Having the same prosecutors and investigators working on these cases from the investigative stages through the court process to jury trial is the best way to ensure the swift and thorough pursuit of justice. The goal of this unit is to hold violators responsible for their actions while protecting victims' rights and keeping our community a safe place to live, work and visit" said District Attorney Vern Pierson.
Funding from this DUI Prosecution Grant will aid the El Dorado County District Attorney's Office in handling cases throughout each step of the criminal process, prosecuting both alcohol and drug-impaired driving cases. Prosecution team members will work with the State's Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Program to expand knowledge and resources in the emerging problem of drug-impaired driving.
In the past year under the
2017-2018 OTS grant (Oct. 1, 2017-Sept. 30, 2018), the vertical prosecution
team filed 146 felony and misdemeanor cases of driving under the influence of
alcohol and drugs. The office as a whole filed 228 DUI cases.
The purpose of the program is to prevent impaired driving and reduce alcohol and drug-impaired traffic deaths and injuries. In 2015, there were 5 deaths and 117 serious injuries as a result of DUI crashes in El Dorado County.
In recent years, California has seen an increase in drug-impaired driving crashes. The El Dorado County District Attorney's Office supports efforts from OTS reminding the public that "DUI Doesn't Just Mean Booze." If you take prescription drugs, particularly those with a driving or operating machinery warning on the label, you might be impaired enough to get a DUI. Marijuana use can also be impairing, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs, and can result in a DUI arrest and conviction.
"Vertical prosecution teams help keep streets across El Dorado County safe by taking people off the road who ignore the law and drive impaired," said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. "Driving under the influence is a crime that will not be tolerated. Funding the prosecution of individuals who put lives at risk is one of many ways we are working to educate the public on the dangers and consequences of driving under the influence."
Funding for this vertical prosecution
program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.