Charged with DUI, the only traces in blood are caffeine

"After being pulled over on 5 August 2015, Schwab was charged by the Solano County district attorney with misdemeanor driving under the influence of a drug.

Almost 18 months later, Schwab is preparing to go to trial. The only evidence the DA has provided of his intoxication is a blood test showing the presence of caffeine.

Sharon Henry, chief deputy district attorney for Solano County, said in a statement that her office was “conducting further investigation in this matter”.

“The charge of driving under the influence is not based upon the presence of caffeine in his system,” she added."


  1. Isn’t it a rule that if they have some evidence that the “influence” was something other than caffeine they must provide it to the defense lawyer?

  2. Can they charge “driving under the influence” even if there is no evidence in blood or breathalyzer tests of any drug traces, just on the basis of “erratic driving”?

  3. Why in the world are the prosecutors pursuing this at all?

From here.

It would have helped if the article had stated his caffeine level.

Driving erratically is a legitimate reason for a cop to pull y ou over. If a subsequent blood test indicates a presence of any substance that could be accountable for the erratic driving, that would constitute DUI. Don’t worry, the prosecution has a long list of expert witnesses on retainer, ready to testify to the legitimacy of any quasi-scientific fact they like.

The burden is on the driver to not drive, if he has consumed any drug that could impair his driving skill or response. Even Twinkies.

Please provide a cite that correlates a specific caffeine level to any of those symptoms?

Also, the prosecution has yet to turn over any evidence that it even has his caffeine level.

What difference does it matter if the person is not driving properly then please yes…get them off the road!!

Is it just faintly possible that Schwab is not white? The linked article doesn’t say. Nor does it go into what evidence there is of his erratic driving.

Et cetera.
Note that driving under the influence is not defined by BAC, and is not restricted to alcohol. Nonetheless, DUI of caffeine is a new one.

I suspect, though I don’t where to find a cite, that the ridiculousness of this action is due to this part:

Because, y’see, in the the California Penal Code, Part 2, Title 3, Chapter 4.5, Section 830.2, it states:

The ABC department is in charge of liquor licenses. IANAL, but I think that these agents are not empowered to pull over drivers or enforce any rules of the road - except for those related to alcoholic beverages. The defendant in this case allegedly cut off an ABC agent, and she pulled him over using the only statute that allows her to do so – maybe – and the DA is backing up that decision, even in the face of evidence that he wasn’t drunk.

The ability of a police officer to determine intoxication by observation is based on training and experience, and it lies at the heart of DUI law. A BAC agent is, for the most part, a clerk – charged with enforcing the law, yes, but a Business Code, not the Vehicle Code. They are concerned with licenses, selling to minors, and similar code violations, and are rarely, if ever, required to discern whether a person is intoxicated.

I suspect that this agent was basically pissed off, and used the authority of her agency to get even with another driver. In doing so, she has placed that authority on the line, and that agency and the DA may feel they have no choice but to back her up.

No. A black thug would probably have lacked the resources to hire a fancy Esquire. Unless he were particularly uppity he would have pled out long ago.

Could be misuse of a prescribed medication - over self-medicating, for example.

It could also be a case of road rage: “How dare he overtake me; I’ll do him for DUI.”

An unmarked vehicle. In other words, her car.

Do ABC agents ever drive marked vehicles? If so, why?

I suspect you’re right, except for one thing. Assuming she was pissed off & pulled him over, more rational heads further up the chain, & removed from the heat of the moment would have to agree with her. IF they thought she was wrong, they would have dropped it. By pressing the issue on what sounds to be a dubious case, their payout increases if there’s a wrongful prosecution case, since he now has legal fees. My guess is there’s some details that we don’t know via the press reports.

They need some vehicle to get around & do their official business/site visits. My guess is that their official vehicle is like a detective’s car. Similar to a patrol vehicle but with lesser ‘goodies’ added. No cage/special rear seat for prisoner transport, some amount of red/blue strobe/LEDs, but lesser than on a patrol car. No need to spend money on external decaling or special paint job.

I hope the driver sues for false arrest. This should be worth at least a 100k to settle.

Can you imagine creating a legal precedent for driving after having coffee or caffeinated Soda? 90% of us would be facing charges.

I wouldn’t put it pass the police to fuck this one up totally. I was pulled over in 2004 and arrested for DWI -when I was driving a drunk person home. I was the DD. They would not let me blow into the breathalyzer. They took me to a hospital and poured isopropyl alcohol into the crook of my elbow and stabbed me three times with the needle before they drew blood. I stayed in jail for 3 days before I was arraigned. Got a letter in the mail two weeks later saying that my BAC was 0.0. THEY STILL DIDN’T TOSS OUT THE CASE. I still had to go to court - twice. The first was to get my drivers license back, the second was for the DWI. They changed the charge to Obstruction of a highway and put me on probation - my first criminal charge besides a speeding ticket in high school. My lawyer appealed twice, they didn’t even take it up.

But hey, every five years or so I get to see my mid twenties mug shot hosted on a file server in the Cayman Islands with a note on it that I can pay $499.99 USD to have removed so it doesn’t hurt my job prospects.

Her personal car wouldn’t generally be an unmarked car, it would be her personal car or a private vehicle. In any case, an unmarked car would be one often used in official business, provided by the job, not something she picked up herself at Herb Tarlek’s car lot.

DWI - the important word is ‘impaired’ - fatigue is impaired … if you are so tired you have chugged tons of caffeine you can still be so ired yo are damned near seeing double. Impaired doesn’t always mean drugs. If I go out and my blood glucose either tanks to 50 or bounces up to 400, I can act like I were drunk, and in a sense I am drunk, just not on any ingested chemicals.

Honestly, you are assuming a certain level of rationality that isn’t always present. There have been multiple cases of the DA going along with a weak shitty case. In this case, it sounds like they tried a breathalyzer and then the blood test to nail him for something, and now they have a shit case.

DA dropped DUI charge. They still think he might have been on something that wasn’t showing up, but now he’s only on the hook for reckless driving. (Hey, Lance Armstrong passed 17,000 drug tests, so could be.)

Did everyone, including the headline writer, miss this quote from the original article?

Well, since there was no other drug traces found in analyses, driving under “influence” of what was the charge? How long does it take to decide that since you cannot show any drug traces, you cannot prove “influence”?