Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced Tuesday that the California Office of Traffic Safety has awarded the District Attorney’s Office $248,000 for prosecution of drunken driving cases.
The grant will fund a highly specialized vertical prosecution team that will work cases from arrest through sentencing. The purpose of the grant is to prevent impaired driving and reduce alcohol and drug-impaired traffic fatalities and injuries.
According to Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven, the District Attorney’s Office prosecutes thousands of DUIs each year. While many of the cases are alcohol-related, the office is seeing a spike in the number of drug-related DUIs in the county. Drivers are commonly being found under the influence of marijuana, prescription drugs, illegal street drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol.
Funding from this grant will allow the new prosecution team to handle these cases throughout each step of the criminal process and will allow members of the team to assist in the investigation of fatal and major-injury DUI vehicle collisions.
Prosecutors will work with the state’s Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Program to obtain and deliver 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.
“DUI can be a violent, tragic crime,” said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “This special team will help ensure that no one falls through the cracks, and that the worst-of-the-worst offenders face a highly skilled, dedicated prosecutor.”
Reisig expressed gratitude for the state funding.
“This funding from OTS will allow us to focus increased efforts on a problem that presents a dangerous risk to Yolo County citizens every time they get behind the wheel of their car,” he said. “We look forward to partnering with law enforcement as well as educating the public about this.”
Funding for the program comes from a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.