SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego city attorney Mara Elliott announced Friday that her office has received a $ 265,000 grant from the California Department of Transportation and Safety to continue funding a dedicated team of prosecutors that works on drug-behind-the-wheel cases.
“Driving while under the influence of drugs can have a devastating impact on San Diego drivers and their families,” said Elliott. “DUI cases continue to exist in our city in which prescription drugs, marijuana and illegal drugs are abused, often in combination with alcohol. This grant allows our highly specialized law enforcement team to work closely with law enforcement agencies to hold those who endanger our community accountable. “
The city of San Diego law firm has received special grants from the OTS through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to track drug-driving cases annually since 2015. This year’s grant represents a significant increase over the previous year’s amount of $ 198,302.
Funding from the Drug DUI Prosecution Grant is intended to assist the office in handling cases at every step of the criminal process and pursuing both drug and drug / alcohol problem cases.
The team treats each case vertically, meaning that a deputy city attorney is responsible for each individual case, from arrest to conviction to conviction. Team members also work with the state road safety resources program to expand knowledge and resources regarding the emerging problem of drug driving across the state.
Last year, under the 2019-2020 OTS grant, the specialized law enforcement team filed 157 cases of offenses involving driving under the influence of drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs. The entire office filed 1,800 DUI cases during this period.
The aim of the program is to prevent driving disruptions and to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries caused by alcohol and drugs. So far this year there have been two dozen DUI-related deaths in San Diego County, despite fewer cars traveling due to pandemic-related restrictions. If that trend continues, this year is well on the way to topping the county’s worst year 2017, which saw 25 people killed in DUI accidents.
The Office for Traffic Safety reminds the public that DUI doesn’t just mean alcohol. Even without alcohol, the use of marijuana or prescription drugs – especially those warned not to drive or operate machines – can result in DUI arrest and conviction.
“If you drink or use drugs and choose to drive, you are putting life at risk,” said OTS director Barbara Rooney. “This funding from the OTS ensures that those who make the decision to drive under the influence will be held accountable for their actions.”
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