DA's office: 1000th felony DUI case closed

DUI cases remain high; more than 4,100 DUI cases filed in 2017

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Kern County District Attorney's Office says it has closed its 1000th felony DUI and DUI homicide case since a special unit to combat the problem was started in 2010. 

In a release Monday, the district attorney's office says the county's Felony DUI/Homicide Vertical Prosecution unit says it has prosecuted a DUI felony, on average, every 2.7 days.

Since October 2010, the cases included 93 people who were killed and another 661 who were injured. The district attorney's office adds that number doesn't include impaired drivers who died before being prosecuted.

Although the number of DUI cases has dropped from a high of 4,788 in 2010, DUI cases remain high. The county said 4,120 cases were filed in 2017.

The county said juries convicted defendants in each homicide case including 12 murder convictions with life sentences.

According to the county, the prosecution unit helped convict the state's first murder conviction for cannabis impairment and was the first county to have oral fluid testing admitted as evidence. 

In a statement District Attorney Lisa Green said: "We have come a long way over the past seven years.  Victims of impaired drivers and their families now have a strong voice in the courtroom to ensure justice is served. Unfortunately, there remains a great need for this team as we have over fifty felony cases pending. Until people start making the correct choices not to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the Kern County District Attorney's Office will continue to hold them accountable."

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