SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.– Those arrested for DUI in San Bernardino County, especially repeat offenders and those involved in fatal or injury crashes, can expect to face highly trained, specialized prosecutors, thanks to a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety. The $207,924.00 grant to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office will fund a Vertical Prosecution team that will work cases from arrest through conviction and sentencing.
"I will always remember CHP Officer Ruben Rios who lost his life to a drunk driver while on duty protecting the public," said District Attorney Michael Ramos. "Officer Rios had spent so much of his time as an officer educating the community about the dangers of drinking and driving. While we can’t say or do anything to bring him back, we can carry on with the work that was near and dear to his heart. With this grant we will be able to add more resources to protect our citizens and ultimately hold those who decide to drink and drive responsible for their actions.”
Funding from this DUI Prosecution Grant will aid the District Attorney's Office in handling cases throughout each step of the criminal process, prosecuting both alcohol and drug-impaired driving cases. 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 under the 2015-2016 OTS grant, the vertical prosecution team filed 137 felony and misdemeanor cases of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The office as a whole filed 6,704 DUI cases.
Prosecution team members will work with the State’s Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Program to expand knowledge and resources in the office by obtaining and delivering specialized training, including training in the emerging problem of drug-impaired driving. Team members will share information with peers and law enforcement personnel throughout the county and across the state.
The purpose of the program is to prevent impaired driving and reduce alcohol and drug-impaired traffic fatalities and injuries. In 2013 there were 95 deaths and 1,375 serious injuries as a result of DUI crashes in San Bernardino County.
“When there is a trained, seasoned and committed team working serious DUI cases, prosecutors get the positive results needed,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “The Office of Traffic Safety and the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office will be working together to help keep the streets and highways safe across San Bernardino County and the state.”
Funding for the program comes from a grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.