Thanks in part to public exposure brought about by alternative media sites such as The Free Thought Project and others, Joseph Schwab of Fairfield, CA, will not face felony driving under the influence (DUI) charges for operating his vehicle while under the effects of caffeine. Yes. That’s right. Caffeine.
However, police note that they are still charging him with reckless driving.
TFTP brought attention to Schwab’s case on Monday in our first story. And on Wednesday, the Solano County, CA District Attorney Krishna Abrams, announced they were dropping the DUI charges against Schwab. "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," the press release reads.
Despite their best attempts to charge this man with a DUI, they were unable to find anything other than caffeine in his system.
According to KCRA, Abrams still believes some drug other than caffeine was in Schwab's system, but that testing didn't reveal it.
"Do we wish that it could test for more drugs?" Abrams said of their testing system. "Absolutely, because then we would know what was in his system."
So, for 16 months these charges lingered over Schwab's head -- based solely on the hunch of a DA.
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On Wednesday, Snopes attempted to 'debunk' the story by claiming that the Free Thought Project "(implied) his legal troubles were the result of merely drinking too much coffee."
However, that is not at all what was reported. In fact, the Free Thought Project simply covered the police department's own admission that Schwab was charged with a DUI and the only drug in his system at the time was caffeine. These two facts are indisputable. However, the supposed arbiter of 'fake news' insisted on slandering the Free Thought Project anyway.
John Vibes of TFTP described the arrest which took place in 2015, “Schwab was driving home from work when he was pulled over by an agent from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, who was driving an unmarked vehicle. The agent said Schwab had cut her off and was driving erratically. The officer claims that Schwab cut her off and she gave him a breathalyzer which showed a blood alcohol content of 0.00%. Unfortunately, the officer was still not convinced. So, she arrested him and took him to jail so his blood could be drawn for other drugs. His blood tests came back negative for all illegal drugs. But he did test positive for caffeine. For some reason, this was enough to charge Schwab with a DUI," Vibes wrote.
Neither a highway patrolman, a county, nor a city police officer arrested Schwab, but rather an Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) agent made the arrest. According to the Daily Republic, Michelle Ott, was the ABC agent who arrested him.
Ott is assigned to the Bay Area field enforcement office and reportedly made 54 arrests in 2014 for “crimes related to underage drinking and 36 other arrests, including for public drunkenness and sales to intoxicated patrons at and around businesses licensed by the ABC.”
While Ott did indeed conduct a field sobriety test, and felt strongly that Schwab was under the influence of some illicit substance, the toxicology report came back negative, and should have immediately resulted in all DUI charges being dropped. But Schwab had to fight the charges for over a year before ultimately not being charged with the crime.
Schwab’s case, once again, serves as further evidence that given a badge and a title, officers can get away with anything. These mistakes and missteps in policing are costing thousands of dollars for innocent people to defend against, needlessly clogs the court systems, and ultimately ends up solving no crimes.
If a man can be charged with a DUI for having caffeine in his system, no one is safe from police and their lawless quest to generate revenue from bogus charges.