Crime

DA Drops Caffeine DUI Charge After 16 Months

| by Michael Howard

A California man who was charged with driving under the influence of caffeine in August 2015 is finally having the case against him dismissed.

Joseph Schwab, 36, was pulled over by an Alcohol Beverage Control agent who said Schwab was "weaving in and out of traffic almost causing several collisions," according to KCRA.

The agent searched Schwab's vehicle and found only workout supplements, all of which were legal to possess.

"I was 100 percent confident that I was not under the influence of anything," Schwab told KCRA.

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Nevertheless, the agent made him perform a number of sobriety tests and said she noted that Schwab's pupils were dilated. She was convinced that Schwab had taken some kind of drug.

"The driver seemed very amped up, very agitated, very combative, and she thought he was under the influence of something," Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams said.

Schwab was therefore arrested. A blood test performed at the jail was negative for cocaine, THC, opiates, methamphetamine and oxycodone. The only drug in Schwab's system, it turned out, was caffeine.

The district attorney went ahead with the DUI charge, anyway.

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Schwab's attorney, Stacy Barrett, was taken aback.

"I didn't believe it," she said. "I actually consulted with the other attorneys in my office, to make sure that I wasn't missing something."

She filed a motion to have the charges dismissed.

Now, more than 16 months later, the district attorney has agreed to drop the charges.

"After further consideration, without a confirmatory test of the specific drug in the defendant's system that impaired his ability to drive, we do not believe we can prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt," Abrams said in a statement Dec. 28.

That doesn't mean, however, that Abrams thinks Schwab is innocent. She is still convinced that he was under the influence of something other than caffeine that afternoon.

"Do we wish that [we] could test for more drugs?" Abrams said. "Absolutely, because then we would know what was in his system."

She also denied that press coverage of the case influenced her decision to dismiss it.

"The attention from the press or the media or the social media would never dictate what we do in a case," she explained. "As my dad always says, 'shut out the noise and do what's right.'"

Schwab still faces the misdemeanor charge of reckless driving.

Sources: KCRA (2) / Photo credit: Pixabay via Pexels

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