A state agency has awarded a $ 265,000 grant to Mara Elliott law firm in San Diego to continue funding a team of prosecutors working on drug-driving cases.
The California Road Safety Bureau has given the Attorney General's Office the same grant for tracking drug driving cases since 2015, according to a press release. However, this year's Drug DUI Prosecution Grant represented an increase of nearly $ 67,000 from the $ 198,302 grant awarded last year.
Elliott's office said the funding will help treat cases involving only drug-disabled driving and drivers who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
"The highly trained prosecutors on this team handle each case vertically, with an assistant city attorney handling each case from arrest to conviction to conviction," Elliott's office said in a press release.
Between October 1, 2019 and September 30 of this year, the special team's prosecutors filed 157 cases of misdemeanor, according to the press release, in which they drove under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol.
"The aim of the program is to prevent driving disorders and to reduce alcohol and drug-related road deaths and injuries," said the prosecutor in the press release.
According to Elliott's office, there were 24 DUI-related deaths in San Diego County in 2020 "despite fewer automobiles due to pandemic-related restrictions." The city's prosecutor said that if this trend continues, 2020 is on track to surpass the county's worst year, 2017, in which 25 people were killed in DUI accidents.
"Driving while under the influence of drugs can have a devastating impact on San Diego drivers and their families," Elliott said in a statement. “DUI cases continue to exist in our city in which prescription drugs, marijuana and illegal drugs are abused, often in combination with alcohol. This grant enables our highly specialized law enforcement team to work closely with law enforcement agencies to hold those who put our community at risk. "