Grant gives DA team to fight DUIs

By From page A7 | February 27, 2013

The District Attorney’s Office is creating a team specifically to prosecute DUI cases that involve repeat offenders and incidents involving death.

Thanks to a grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, those high-level DUI offenders “can expect to face highly trained, specialized prosecutors,” a press release from the DA’s office stated. The more than $313,000 grant will fund a “Vertical Prosecution team” that will work cases from the arrest to sentencing. For DUI cases — including both alcohol and drugs — that involved major injury or death, the prosecutors may start at the scene of the crash.

The team will “aggressively investigate and prosecute the most serious DUIs in our county in order to properly punish DUI offenders, and ultimately, to save lives and make the roads a little safer for the residents of El Dorado County,” District Attorney Vern Pierson said.

Prosecutors will work with the State’s Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Program to receive specialized training. The team will in turn train others across both the county and the state.

The program aims to curb accidents, especially those with injury and death, and reduce number of overall DUIs. DUIs accounted for six deaths and 63 serious injuries in 2012.

“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.”

Cole Mayer

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