The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office announced that it has received a $344,000 grant for a special prosecution program targeting alcohol and drug impaired drivers.
The grant from the California Department of Traffic Safety will fund a “vertical prosecution” team that will work with cases from arrest through sentencing. The team of specialized prosecutors will focus especially on repeat offenders and those involved in crashes that result in fatalities or injuries, according to a District Attorney’s Office news release.
“This is the second year we have utilized the Vertical Prosecution Grant and it has been very effective in our county,” District Attorney Vern Pierson said n a written statement. “The grant allows us to fund a highly trained and sophisticated team of professionals to vertically prosecute repeat DUI offenders.”
The purpose of the program is to prevent and reduce impaired driving, and drug and alcohol-related traffic fatalities and injuries. Officials report that in 2012 there were six deaths and 63 serious injuries as a result of DUI crashes in the county.
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The team will handle felony DUI and complex misdemeanor DUI cases throughout each step of the criminal process, prosecuting both alcohol and drug-impaired driving cases. In fatal and major injury DUI vehicle collisions, team members may start by going to the crash scene to be part of the investigation, officials said.
To enhance their capabilities and those of the DA’s office, team members will work with the state’s Traffic Resource Persecutor Program to obtain and deliver specialized training.