An article in the Modesto Bee reports that a 43 year old man named David Tamez Leza was recently sentenced to 3 years in jail after being convicted of DUI for the third time in a ten year period. Leza had previously been convicted of felony DUI in 2003 and 2006 and was arrested in January for driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.21%. The legal limit in California is .08%, so Leza was almost 2 and a half times over.
What is interesting about this case is that the article notes at the end that:
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Darnell, whose position is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
It goes on to explain that a grant of $346,967 was given to the D.A.'s office in order to build a “vertical” prosecution team. This means that the D.A. will work to build a team of prosecutors whose job it is to specially charge and convict DUI offenders. The team will target both alcohol and drug related DUI cases and may even involve visiting crash sites where potential DUI drivers may have been involved.
Drivers who are arrested in Modesto need to me aware of this new prosecution team. While it seems like a good idea to have prosecutors who are specialized in one area handle those type of cases, anytime that you make it someone's sole purpose to convict certain criminals it can lead to overzealous charges.
Prosecutors that are looking to increase their DUI conviction rate will be less likely to offer plea deals to suspects with weak cases or who were arrested with very low BACs. Most importantly, if the prosecution has a team dedicated to convictions, you need a team dedicated to your innocence. Hiring a DUI lawyer is always a good idea, but especially so in this type of situation.