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The San Diego City Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that it has received a grant supporting its special prosecutorial team focused on drug-impaired and drug/alcohol impaired driving cases.

The $244,008 Drug DUI Prosecution Grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety will support a team of deputy city attorneys who handle criminal cases from arrest to sentencing.

“Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol can destroy lives and families,” City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said. “In San Diego we continue to see DUI cases involving the misuse of prescription drugs, marijuana and illegal drugs, often in combination with alcohol. This grant allows our team of special prosecutors to work closely with law enforcement to hold accountable those who endanger our community.”

The previous such grant — which ran from Oct. 1, 2020 through this September — supported the prosecution team’s filing of 284 misdemeanor DUI drugs or DUI drug/alcohol combination cases.

That figure was nearly double the previous year’s filed cases, according to the City Attorney’s Office, which said San Diego County has seen an uptick in impaired driving cases of late.

So far this year, 35 DUI-related fatalities have occurred in the county, already surpassing the county’s worst such year, in which 25 people were killed in 2017. The City Attorney’s Office said drug-impaired driving cases have also been increasing statewide.

“Experience and knowledge are critical for prosecutors to build successful impaired driving cases,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “This program provides resources, tools and a strong training network for DUI prosecution teams that hold people who drive under the influence accountable for their actions.”

–City News Service