A California man charged with one count of driving under the influence of a drug says he wants to clear his name after blood tests reportedly revealed the presence of caffeine and no actual narcotics.
The Solano County District Attorney’s Office filed the single misdemeanor DUI charge against Joseph Schwab in June 2016, as indicated by public court records. According to his attorney, however, the sole evidence prosecutors have against Mr. Schwab are blood results that show he only had caffeine in his system at the time of his arrest.
Mr. Schwab’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss the charge in Superior Court last week, and discussed the case publicly for the first time in an interview published by The Guardian newspaper Saturday.
The case dates back to August 2015 when Mr. Schwab was pulled over by a member of the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for allegedly driving erratically, his attorney, Stacey Barrett, told the newspaper.
A subsequent Breathalyzer test failed to indicate Mr. Schwab had been drinking, but he was booked regardless into the county jail and subjected to a blood test, his attorney said.
The results of an initial toxicology exam failed to find the presence of any narcotics in Mr. Schwab’s blood, his lawyer said. That same sample was then sent to a lab in Pennsylvania for further analysis, where scientists said it tested positive for a single substance: caffeine.
The toxicology report was finalized in Nov. 2015, and the district attorney brought the misdemeanor charge seven months later – nearly a year after Mr. Schwab was first taken into custody.
According to the lawyer, prosecutors have failed since to show any evidence supporting the presence of a substance other than caffeine in her client’s blood.
“I’ve never seen this before,” she told The Guardian. “I’ve never even heard of it.”
“No one believed me that I only had caffeine in my system until I showed them the lab results,” Mr. Schwab added. “I want the charges to be dismissed and my name to be cleared.”
Sharon Henry, chief deputy district attorney for Solano County, told The Guardian 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.
Ms. Barrett filed a motion to dismiss charges on Dec. 16 that accuses prosecutors of violating her client’s right to a speedy trial. The district attorney’s office filed an opposition on Friday, according to the court docket.
Mr. Schwab plans to take his case before a jury if its not dismissed by Jan. 11, 2017, he told the Guardian.
• Andrew Blake can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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