Man charged with DUI, tests positive only for caffeine

He and his attorney want the charges dropped, insisting caffeine is not a crime

(CNN) – You’ve heard of driving under the influence of alcohol but what about charges for testing positive for caffeine? A man is fighting a DUI charge, even though his blood test tested negative for alcohol.

On a summer afternoon, 36-year-old joseph Schwab was coming home in Fairfield after a long day in august 2015.

Joseph Schwab, Defendant said, “I just worked, I’m a little tired, I had an early start this morning.”

Suddenly an alcohol beverage control agent pulled him over on 6-80 near gold hill road. She claimed he was weaving in and out of traffic and, more seriously, under the influence of a drug.

Schwab said, “I was 100 percent confident that I was not under the influence of anything.”

Krishna Abrams is Solano County’s district attorney and says inside Schwab’s car. The agent found workout powders.

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

The agent gave a field sobriety test and arrested Schwab. Then, in jail, he agreed to a blood test but the results came back negative except for one drug, caffeine.

Stacy Barrett, Defense Attorney said, “I didn’t believe it.”

Schwab’s attorney Stacy Barrett doesn’t understand why the DUI charge stuck.

Barrett said, “I actually consulted with both of the other attorneys in my office, to make sure that I wasn’t missing something.”

We talked to a forensic toxicologist. With caffeine a daily habit for many, Edwin Smith believes if anything the substance improves the ability of most drivers.

Edwin Smith, Forensic Toxicologist said, “Very few if any of those people are having problems functioning in a task like driving. Most are probably doing it as well, and potentially even better than they would do without it.”

However, the da is still moving forward with the dui charge. She believes it was not caffeine, but some other drug not on the test that influenced Schwab. She admits, a conviction won’t be easy.

Krishna Abrams, Solano County District Attorney said, “This is a case without a blood result, right? So it makes it a very difficult challenge to prove in court to not have the blood result.”

Now, 16 months later, the arrest has hurt Schwab both financially and professionally.

Schwab said, “It looked like I was undependable and when you tell this type of story to somebody they naturally are not going to believe it.”

He and his attorney want the charges dropped, insisting caffeine is not a crime.

Barrett said, “I certainly hope that this isn’t something that other drivers have to be concerned about.”

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