California man fights to clear name after DUI arrest for caffeine

8 ounces of coffee can range from 95-250 mg of caffeine (Shutterstock image)
8 ounces of coffee can range from 95-250 mg of caffeine (Shutterstock image)

There is a belief among many that if a law enforcement officer wants to arrest you out of spite, there is little you can do about the situation. Last year, Joseph Schwab found this out when he was driving in Solano County, California. It was there that an agent of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control accused Solano in a minor traffic violation. The agent claimed that Schwab cut her off and was driving erratically. He was given a breathalyzer test and blew a 0.00 alcohol level.

Despite the result of the test, Schwab was arrested and booked into the county jail. When he was in custody, a blood draw was performed and the results were negative for benzodiazepines, cocaine, opiates, THC, carisoprodol (a muscle relaxant), methamphetamine/MDMA, oxycodone, and zolpidem. The blood sample was tested by a second lab later and the only positive result was for caffeine.

Based on this result, Schwab was ultimately charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence of a drug. The incident occurred in August 2015 and the charge was filed in June 2016. Schwab is currently getting ready to face a jury on Jan. 11, 2017. His lawyer in the case, Stacey Barrett, is trying to have the charges against her client dismissed and has expressed disbelief at the facts of the case. The district attorney’s office stated that the charge against Schwab is not based on the presence of caffeine in his system. Barrett has stated that the DA’s office has not given her any other evidence of a different drug in her client’s system. This she says is a violation of the rules of criminal proceedings. She states, “I have not been provided with any evidence to support a theory of prosecution for a substance other than caffeine at this time. Nor have I received any statements, reports, etc documenting any ongoing investigation since the [toxicology report] dated 18 November 2015.”

For Schwab, the case has resulted in embarrassment and damaged his reputation. He stated to media, “No one believed me that I only had caffeine in my system until I showed them the lab results … I want the charges to be dismissed and my name to be cleared.”

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