The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office’s section dedicated to investigating and prosecuting driving under the influence cases involving alcohol, marijuana and other drugs will receive more than $980,000 to fund the program into next year.
Since 2016, the district attorney’s office has taken a leadership role in training local law enforcement and deputy district attorneys to investigate and prosecute driving under the influence of drugs cases related to the legalization of recreational marijuana.
The California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approved a $981,124 grant to pay for the program, which also aims to prevent impaired driving and reduce alcohol and drug-related fatalities and injuries. Last year, the office received a $869,646 grant.
The funding pays for the DUI Training and Prosecution Section, which reviews and in some cases prosecutes DUI-drug cases that result in a homicide. Additionally, they have been working with law enforcement and prosecutors to determine whether drugs played a role in serious or fatal traffic collisions, and the type of evidence needed to support prosecution.
Education and enforcement are needed tools to counteract the rise in impaired driving that has been seen in other states where recreational marijuana has been legalized, according to a study released last month by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The increased funding also will help the DUI Training and Prosecution Section improve the training and resources used to work with police agencies and increase the number of officers who are certified drug recognition experts in Los Angeles County. Drug recognition experts are trained to identify the effects of impairment and are able to determine if someone was impaired by drugs, alcohol or a combination of the two while driving.
For information, visit da.lacounty.gov.
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