Drug DUI is a charge that can be difficult to prosecute because it’s not as easy to measure intoxication. There are several arguments that a defense attorney can make, with a major one being that the blood or urine samples that prove drugs were in a person’s system were taken or handled inappropriately. The attorney can also argue that though there were drugs in a person’s system, there were not enough to cause impairment. A defense attorney will also explore other explanations for the signs a person may display that indicate drugs. Because defense attorneys have these tools at their disposal, and due to the legalization of marijuana, one California city is using federal grant funds to help to fund DUI prosecutors who specialize in drug-DUI charges.
Mara Elliott, city attorney for San Diego City, announced that the city will make use of $255,850 in grant money to fund a team of prosecutors. The prosecutors will specialize in the prosecution of DUI charges.
The grant, called the DUI Drug Prosecution Grant, was renewed with the intent of allowing a special team of prosecutors to handle DUI-drug and alcohol DUI charges as well as combined alcohol-drug DUI charges. These prosecutors will handle the cases from arrest to conviction and through sentencing.
The grant is administered by the Office of Traffic Safety and is from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The prosecutors who worked under the grant filed 228 misdemeanor cases of drug-impaired and drug/alcohol-impaired driving. The total number of cases prosecuted by the City Attorney’s office was 3,110 cases.
The city of San Diego has been receiving the grant since 2014.