FRESNO - Those arrested for DUI in Fresno County, especially repeat offenders and those involved in fatal or injury crashes, can expect to face a highly trained, specialized prosecutor, funded by a $382,711 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). The grant to the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office will fund a Vertical Prosecution team that will work cases from arrest through conviction and sentencing.
The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office will use these OTS funds to continue the fight to make the streets of our county safer by prosecuting drunk and drugged drivers. In 2014, there were 50 deaths and 528 serious injuries as a result of DUI crashes in Fresno County. In the past year under the 2016-2017 OTS grant, the District Attorney’s vertical prosecution team filed 111 felony cases of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The office as a whole filed 4,346 DUI felony and misdemeanor cases.
Funding from this DUI Prosecution Grant will aid the District Attorney’s Office in handling cases through each step of the criminal process from crash scene to sentencing, prosecuting both alcohol and drug-impaired driving cases.
Prosecution team members will work with California’s Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Training Network to expand knowledge and resources in the office by obtaining and delivering specialized training, including the emerging problem of drug-impaired driving. Team members will share information with peers and law enforcement throughout the county and state.
“Vertical prosecution teams working serious DUI cases get the positive results needed,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office, with assistance from the Office of Traffic Safety, will be working to help keep the streets across Fresno County safe for everyone.”
While alcohol remains the worst offender for DUI crashes, Fresno County supports the new effort from OTS that aims to drive awareness that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” Prescription medications and marijuana can also be impairing by themselves, or in combination with alcohol, and can result in a DUI arrest.
Funding for the program comes from a grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.