Grant targets ‘worst of the worst’ DUI offenders

By The Record
December 12, 2013 12:00 AM

The San Joaquin County Probation Department has announced it has been awarded a federal grant to monitor the “worst of the worst” DUI offenders in the county.

The Calaveras County District Attorney’s Office has announced it again has been awarded a state grant to enable enhanced prosecution of people arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

San Joaquin County’s $145,000 grant allows the department to better supervise high-risk DUI offenders, according to a statement from Chief Probation Officer Stephanie James.

The grant targets people who repeatedly have been caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The money pays for officers to supervise the offenders.

Supervision includes unannounced home searches and random alcohol and drug screening.

It also allows for after-hour and weekend compliance checks of offenders under probation and allows the department to participate in multiagency efforts targeting repeat offenders.

These offenders are more likely to be involved in tragic crashes involving alcohol or drugs, according to the announcement of the grant.

The grant was awarded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Drivers with a blood-alcohol content of .08 or higher in fatal crashes in 2011 were seven times more likely to have a prior conviction for driving while impaired than were drivers with no alcohol in their systems, according to the release.

That year there were 9,978 fatalities in crashes involving a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher.

For Calaveras County, the $174,310 grant awarded by the California Office of Traffic Safety will continue for a second year a program that began in 2012.

The money funds a team within the District Attorney’s Office that focuses on impaired driving cases.

In some cases, members of the team even go to the scene of accidents where impaired driving is suspected.

Calaveras County’s effort involves both systematic prosecution of intoxicated drivers and an outreach program that educates the public, especially young people, on the dangers of impaired driving.

The program addresses drivers intoxicated on prescription medications and illegal drugs as well as alcohol.

District Attorney Barbara Yook said a variety of agencies are cooperating in the effort, including the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office, the Angels Camp Police Department, school districts within the county and Mark Twain Medical Center.



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