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City Receives Grant to Target Drugged Drivers

When a city or county sees an increase in a certain type of criminal activity, it is not uncommon for law enforcement to begin to crackdown on this behavior. For example, if there is an increase in motorists that are driving under the influence, officers may conduct more sobriety checkpoints.

However, in some instances, an increase in police patrols might not be possible. Communities throughout Arizona are struggling with budgets, and often request additional funding whenever they have unique problems that need to be addressed.

One of the major issues receiving increased police attention concerns the number of drugged drivers within Arizona. While most police officers will have the training necessary to apprehend drunk drivers, drugged driving can only be detected with specially trained officers called "Drug Recognition Experts (DREs)."

There are a limited number of DREs within Arizona. These officers are called in to determine if a motorist is under the influence of drugs. If the DRE believes the motorist is operating under the influence, the officer can subject the motorist to testing to determine the drugs that are present in the system.

Since there are so many different drugs that could be being used, prosecutors often rely upon the results of these tests to prove their cases. Backups in crime labs could cause results to be delayed.

The city of Mesa has recently received a grant from The Governor's Office of Highway Safety to help assist in the prosecution of drugged drivers. The $17,000 grant will be used to keep the city's crime lab open longer, allowing it to process the results from suspected drugged driving cases much faster. Some of the funding will also be used to put new technology in place that will help the prosecution when these cases end up going to trial.

These enhancements show just how seriously Arizona takes drugged driving charges. With the increased attention, there could be more of these cases going through the courts. If facing these charges, it is important to understand the options that may be available.

Source: abc15.com "City of Mesa awarded $17K grant to fund DUI prosecutions" Ashley Loose, July 16, 2012.

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