Santa Rosa, CA – November 17, 2017 – District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced today that those arrested for DUI in Sonoma County, specifically repeat offenders, drug impaired and those involved in fatal or injury crashes, can expect to face highly trained, specialized prosecutors, thanks to a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety.
The $353,537 grant to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office will fund a Vertical Prosecution team that will work cases from arrest through sentencing.
District Attorney Jill Ravitch stated, “We are honored to once again receive this grant to aggressively prosecute driving under the influence cases. These cases continue to be a top priority for the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office. The OTS funding allows us to work with law enforcement agencies across the
county to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries by holding impaired drivers accountable.”
The increased funding from this DUI Prosecution Grant will aid the District Attorney’s Office in handling cases throughout each step of the criminal process, prosecuting both alcohol and drug-impaired driving cases. 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. In November 2016, California passed Proposition 64,
legalizing possession of marijuana. In response the specialized prosecution team will work to seek additional training, knowledge and skills to combat the potential increase in drug impaired drivers. Team members will share information with peers and law enforcement personnel throughout the county and
across the state.
The purpose of the program is to prevent impaired driving and reduce alcohol and drug-impaired traffic fatalities and injuries. According to SWITRS (Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System), in 2014, there were 18 deaths and 258 serious injuries
as a result of DUI collisions in Sonoma 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 Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office will be working together to help keep the streets and highways safe across Sonoma
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.