There can be no question that drinking under the influence (DUI) is big program around the globe. In the United States, it costs the economy $199 billion each year, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). A person is injured every two minutes in a crash with an inebriated driver. MADD estimates that each day, people drive after drinking 300,000 times. Despite this, there are less than 4,000 arrests. DUI lawyers say that by the time of their first DUI arrest, the typical drunk driver has done this 80 times.
All of this shows just how prevalent this problem is in the country. The moral of the story has been, “Do not drink alcohol and then go driving.” Now a California man has been arrested and charged with nothing but caffeine in his system, according to reporting by the Washington Times. The charge of DUI was brought despite the lack of alcohol or drugs in his system.
Joseph Schwab has been charged with one count of misdemeanor DUI by the Solano County District Attorney’s Office. The charge was filed in June 2016, according to the court records about the situation. Mr. Schwab’s DUI attorney, Stacey Barrett, asserts the only evidence law enforcement have against her client is a set of blood test results that indicate he had caffeine in his blood at the time he was pulled over and arrested.
Barret, Schwab’s, has filed a motion in Superior Court for the full dismissal of the charges against him. The DUI lawyer talked to the press about the incident and the case this week for the first time.
A member of California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control noticed Schwab driving erratically and pulled him over in August 2015, his DUI lawyer told the Guardian. The officer performed a standard roadside breathalyzer test on him. Despite the fact that the test came back negative for alcohol on his breath, the officer took him to jail and booked him on a DUI charge anyway, said Barrett. While he was at the county jail, officials there tool a sample of his blood.
When the initial tests of Schwab’s blood returned, the toxicology report indicated there was no alcohol nor was there any drugs in his system, said the DUI lawyer. Rather than let the matter go, the state sent his blood off to another lab in Pennsylvania, which was able to find a substance in the sample. Caffeine was found by the scientists at that lab.
In November 2015, the Pennsylvania blood tests were finalized. It was not until June of the next year that the charge was filed by the district attorney and Schwab was returned to jail. This was almost a year after the incident in question and seven months after the blood results were finalized. His DUI lawyer ascertains that no other evidence has been presented by the prosecutors in this case. The only thing they say was in his blood was the caffeine.
Barrett said, “I’ve never seen this before. I’ve never even heard of it.”
For his part, Schwab wants his name cleared, “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.”
The chief deputy district attorney for Solano County, Sharon Henry, said they are, “conducting further investigation in this matter. The charge of driving under the influence is not based upon the presence of caffeine in his system.”
A motion to dismiss all charges against Schwab was filed on December 16 by Barrett. She is also accusing the district attorney’s office of violating his right to a speedy trial. According to court files, the district attorney’s office filed a counter motion of opposition. If she does not receive a dismissal by January 11, 2017, she plans to take the case to trial.
The case brings up a lot of questions about what substances can make a person intoxicated and impact their ability to drive. Drinking alcohol is not the only cause of deaths in accident on the highway, it causes 32% but 31% are caused by speeding, 16% are caused by distracted drivers and 11% from weather.