The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has created a new unit dedicated to training law enforcement personnel on how to investigate and prosecute driving under the influence cases involving marijuana and other drugs.
“With the legalization of marijuana in California, we in law enforcement must be prepared to aggressively investigate and prosecute vehicular deaths and injuries caused by impaired drivers,” Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. “It is still a crime for any person to get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs – whether legally obtained or not.”
The District Attorney’s Office is taking a leadership role in making sure that local law enforcement personnel and deputy district attorneys are trained to successfully investigate and prosecute what is expected to be a new wave of driving under the influence of drug cases.
The office’s new DUI Training and Prosecution Section will assist law enforcement personnel and prosecutors in determining whether drugs played a role in serious or fatal traffic collisions and the type and quantity of evidence needed to support a successful prosecution. Deputy district attorneys assigned to the unit also will consult with prosecutors on trial strategies and tactics.
The program is funded by a $858,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It aims to prevent impaired driving and reduce alcohol and drug-related fatalities and injuries.
“When there is a trained, seasoned and committed team working serious DUI cases, prosecutors get the positive results needed,” said Rhonda Craft, director of the OTS. “The Office of Traffic Safety and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office will be working together to help keep the streets and highways safe across Los Angeles County and the state.”
According to statistics gathered by the California Highway Patrol, there were 124 deaths and 6,634 serious injuries linked to DUI crashes in Los Angeles County in 2015. These statistics reflect the most recent provisional data available through the CHP.