SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – Those arrested for DUI in San Bernardino County, especially repeat offenders and those involved in fatal or injury crashes, can expect to face highly trained, specialized prosecutors, funded by a $211,883.00 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). The grant to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office will fund a Vertical Prosecution team that will work cases from arrest through conviction and sentencing.
“I will always remember CHP Officer Ruben Rios who lost his life to a drunk driver while on duty protecting the public,” said District Attorney Mike Ramos. “Officer Rios had spent so much of his time as an officer educating the community about the dangers of drinking and driving. We can’t say or do anything to bring him back, but we can carry on with the work that was near and dear to his heart. This grant will allow us the chance to add more resources to protect our citizens and ultimately hold those who decide to drink and drive responsible for their actions.”
In 2015 there were 85 deaths and 1997 serious injuries as a result of DUI crashes in San Bernardino County. Funding from this DUI Prosecution Grant will aid the San Bernardino County Attorney’s Office in handling cases through each step of the criminal process from crash scene to sentencing, prosecuting both alcohol and drug-impaired driving cases.
Prosecution team members will work with California’s Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Training Network to expand knowledge and resources in the office by obtaining and delivering specialized training, including the emerging problem of drug-impaired driving. Team members will share information with peers and law enforcement throughout the county and state.
“Vertical prosecution teams working serious DUI cases get the positive results needed,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, with assistance from the Office of Traffic Safety, will be working to help keep the streets across San Bernardino County safe for everyone.”
While alcohol remains the worst offender for DUI crashes, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office supports the new effort from OTS that aims to drive awareness that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” Prescription medications and marijuana can also be impairing by themselves, or in combination with alcohol, and can result in a DUI arrest.
Funding for the program comes from a grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Deputy District Attorney Jack Liu is currently assigned to the unit.
Since his assignment in the Fall of 2015, DDA Liu has trained over 600 police officers regarding the investigation and enforcement of DUI/DUID cases. More recently, in an effort to combat the rise in opioid and marijuana use by drivers, DDA Liu spearheaded an effort by the District Attorney’s Office to bring Drug Recognition Expert training to the county.
On Oct. 16, 2017, DDA Liu co-hosted the county’s first ever DRE training at the Ontario Police Department, which allowed over 40 police officers to be trained to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol.