RIVERSIDE – Drivers arrested in Riverside County on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs can expect to continue facing highly specialized prosecutors funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety and approved by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.
The $370,162 grant to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office continues to fund a vertical prosecution team that will handle driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) cases from arrest all the way through sentencing. The new grant covers two deputy district attorneys for fiscal year 2019/2020.
Over the previous grant period from Oct. 1, 2018, to Sept. 30, 2019, the DA’s Office countywide filed 8,293 DUI cases. Of those cases, 717 filed cases across Riverside County were driving under the influence of drugs only and another 403 cases filed were a combination of drugs and alcohol.
While alcohol remains the primary cause in DUI crashes, the DA’s Office supports the effort from the state Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) that aims to drive home awareness that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze”. Prescription medications and marijuana can, by themselves or in combination with alcohol, impair drivers resulting in a DUI arrest.
Under the grant, prosecution team members will work with the state’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 personnel throughout the county and across the state.
The grant was unanimously approved by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 1, 2019.
The grant period runs from Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020. Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Administration.