VENTURA, California – District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced that, for the sixth consecutive year, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office was awarded a special DUI prosecution grant from the California Office of Traffic and Safety. The $382,123 grant will once again fund a vertical prosecution team that will work cases from arrest through sentencing.
The vertical prosecution team is comprised of two full-time deputy district attorneys who are dedicated solely to alcohol and drug DUI prevention and prosecution. The team is designed to aggressively prosecute impaired drivers within Ventura County, while simultaneously raising public awareness of the fatal consequences caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs, both illegal and prescription. In fatal and major injury DUI vehicle collisions, members of the team may respond to the crash scene to be part of the investigation.
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.
In the past year under the 2015-2016 OTS grant, the vertical prosecution team filed 281 felony and misdemeanor cases of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The office as a whole filed 2,540 alcohol only DUI cases.
The purpose of the program is to prevent impaired driving and reduce alcohol and drug-impaired traffic fatalities and injuries. In 2013, there were 12 deaths and 423 serious injuries as a result of DUI crashes in Ventura 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 Ventura County District Attorney’s Office will be working together to help keep the streets and highways safe across Ventura 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.