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The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office has been awarded a $955,695 grant for the “Alcohol and Drug Impaired Driver Vertical Prosecution Program,” which includes a vertical prosecution team that handles driving under the influence (DUI) cases involving repeat offenders and crashes resulting in death or serious injury as well as prevention efforts.
Funding for the program comes from a grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The vertical prosecution team consists of two specialized prosecutors and an investigator who are highly trained to handle both alcohol and drug-impaired driving cases throughout each step of the criminal justice process. In fatal and major injury DUI vehicle collisions, members of the team may respond to the crash scene to be part of the investigation.
In the past year, 19 defendants were convicted in cases involving second degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and DUI with great bodily injury. In addition, 272 felony and 6,016 misdemeanor cases of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs were successfully prosecuted.
Prosecution team members will also work with the state’s Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Program to expand knowledge and resources in the office. By obtaining and delivering specialized training, they are able to share information with peers and law enforcement personnel throughout the county and across the state.
The program includes community awareness outreach, which will be conducted through the educational programs “Before the Impact,” “Real DUI Court in Schools,” and “Every 15 Minutes.” All of these programs focus on the prevention of underage driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, texting, and cell phone use.
“Overall, California’s roadways are among the safest in the nation,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “But to meet future mobility, safety, and accessible transportation objectives, we have to work very hard together to reach our common goal – zero deaths on our roadways. The Office of Traffic Safety and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office want to work with everyone to create a culture of traffic safety across the county and the state.”
“Thanks to the ongoing partnership we have with OTS, we can continue to aggressively prosecute repeat DUI offenders in our community,” said District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert. “We remain just as committed to preventing future DUI related injuries and deaths through our education outreach programs.”
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