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DA’s office receives increased grant funding to prosecute cases involving driving under the influence of drugs


October 11, 2023

RIVERSIDE – Those arrested in Riverside County on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs, will continue facing highly specialized prosecutors thanks to a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), and approved by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.

The $679,708 grant to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office reflects an increase of more than $20,000 from last year and continues to fund a vertical prosecution team of three deputy district attorneys in Riverside County. This team handles driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) cases from arrest, to prosecution, all the way through sentencing. As proof of the effectiveness of this model, when the OTS’s grants to Riverside County expanded to include DUID county-wide in 2014, the conviction rate of DUI and DUID drivers more than doubled.

While alcohol remains the primary cause in DUI crashes, the DA’s Office continues to support the effort from the OTS to bring awareness that DUI also means driving while impaired by prescription medications and/or marijuana. According to the Berkeley SafeTREC 2021 report, the second highest number of drug-involved road user fatalities and serious injuries in California happened in Riverside County.

As part of 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. 3, 2023, and it runs through Sept. 30, 2024.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Administration.