During the first holiday season since cannabis was legalized in California, City Attorney Mike Feuer, District Attorney Jackie Lacey and their law enforcement partners joined to urge the public to not drink or use cannabis and drive.

“We have long known that alcohol and driving can be a lethal combination. Using cannabis and driving can be equally deadly,” said Feuer. “That’s why being an impaired driver is against the law—and why we and our law enforcement partners take these violations so seriously.” From Dec. 1, 2017 to Nov. 30, 2018 Feuer’s office prosecuted 7,794 DUI cases.

“Each holiday season, we, in law enforcement, gather together in hopes of saving lives,” said Lacey. “Today we repeat the same warning: Do not get behind the wheel, if you have been drinking. This year, we’ve expanded that traditional warning. Today’s message is: Do not get behind the wheel of a vehicle, if you have been drinking or using drugs – whether they are legal or illegal.” From Dec. 1, 2017, to Nov. 30, 2018, Lacey’s office filed nearly 10,000 criminal cases related to driving under the influence.

“This holiday season the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, along with all our law enforcement partners, remind Angelenos that impaired driving is not just illegal; it puts the lives of everyone in Los Angeles County at risk,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. “Make the right decisions to ensure a safe and festive holiday season for yourself, your family, and your community.”

“The California Highway Patrol is committed to public safety and removing drivers who are impaired by alcohol, marijuana or any other illegal or prescribed drugs,” said. Southern Division Assistant Chief Omar Watson. “We encourage the use of public transportation and ride sharing or a true designated driver this holiday season.”

Feuer also announced that his office has been awarded a $715,961 grant for the 2019 calendar year from the California Office of Traffic Safety to expand a vertical prosecution team focused on impaired driving. The team is comprised of three experienced Deputy City Attorneys, including DUID Coordinator Farhad Khadem, who possesses extensive experience with impaired driving enforcement. These prosecutors will handle cases from arrest through sentencing in order to advance traffic safety in the City of Los Angeles.

Funding from this Impaired Driving Prosecution Grant will aid the Los Angeles Attorney’s Office in handling cases throughout each step of the criminal process, prosecuting both alcohol and drug-impaired driving cases. Prosecution team members will work with the Southern California Training Network to expand knowledge and resources by obtaining and delivering specialized training, including training in the emerging problem of drug-impaired driving. Team members will share information with peers and law enforcement personnel throughout the city and across the state.

The purpose of the program is to prevent impaired driving and reduce alcohol and drug-impaired traffic fatalities and injuries. Last year, the City Attorney’s Office filed 7,794 cases involving individuals driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol or a combination of both.

“When there is a trained, seasoned and committed team working serious DUI cases, prosecutors get the positive results needed,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “The Office of Traffic Safety and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office will be working together to help keep the streets and highways safe across Los Angeles and the state.”

Funding for the program comes from a grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.