Motorists arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in El Dorado County will face specially trained prosecutors, thanks to a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety.
The $313,325 grant to the District Attorney's Office will fund a "vertical prosecution" team that will work on DUI cases from arrest through sentencing, according to District Attorney's Office news release.
"The new vertical prosecution team will aggressively investigate and prosecute the most serious DUIs in our county in order to properly punish DUI offenders, and ultimately, to save lives and make the roads a little safer for the residents of El Dorado County," District Attorney Vern Pierson said in written statement.
The purpose of the program is to prevent impaired driving and reduce the number of alcohol and drug-related traffic fatalities and injuries, officials said. In 2012, six deaths and 63 serious injuries occurred as a result of DUI crashes in El Dorado County.
The new prosecution team will handle alcohol and drug-impaired driving cases throughout each step of the criminal process. In fatal and major injury DUI collisions, members of the team may start by going to the crash scene to be part of the investigation, officials said.
Prosecution team members will work with the state's Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Program to increase the team and DA Office's capabilities through specialized training. Team members also will share information with their peers and law enforcement personnel throughout the county and state.