“Caffeine DUI”? Not really

Thanks, everyone, for pitching that “caffeine DUI” story but it doesn’t really show Solano County, Calif. charging anyone with such an offense. [Guardian] Indeed, as the 11th paragraph gets around to explaining, “The charge of driving under the influence is not based upon the presence of caffeine in his system,” in the prosecutor’s words. The question is whether, following tests that the defense lawyer says clear Mr. Schwab of any suggestion of intoxicants in his system, the prosecution should have to explain its reasons for not dropping charges originally premised on what an officer said was erratic driving. Anyway, it was a nice story.

Update: charges dropped.


  • Hmm, what is missing from the article? How about some facts about the arresting officer/agent? Since when did alcohol control agents in unmarked cars start making traffic stops?
    Anyone think this is just a case of the prosecutor dragging some sap through the DUI process because some LEO wants a scalp? It’s been 18 months, no new evidence has shown up, and they are going to trial in January. You’d think some adult would call up the prosecutor and the LEO and tell them to quietly drop this case.

  • Here’s an update. The DUI charge has been dropped although it sounds like it was only done so after the defendant’s lawyer went to the press with the “caffeine DUI” story. This is a classic Overlawyered story of a DA who went ahead with that charge even though the blood test came up negative for alcohol or drugs. “It must have been some other drug that our test doesn’t check for.”


  • “The agent said Schwab had cut her off…”
    “… the sole positive result was for caffeine…”
    “The charge of driving under the influence is not based upon the presence of caffeine in his system,” she added.

    Whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Pissy state official taking to an extreme the adage – you can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride.

  • It should be possible to prosecute and pull the license of a dangerous driver whether or not he is “under the influence” of anything. Did the accusing ABC agent capture the defendant’s alleged dangerous driving on a dashboard camera? He claims she was the dangerous driver; a dashcam record would tell. Otherwise, the case should be dismissed for lack of evidence.

    • First, the supposed “dangerous driver” was the male. The ABC agent was the female. Second, there are steps to pulling someone’s driver’s license. There is a requirement of Due Process in the law and some ABC agent’s opinion that he was driving erratically doesn’t qualify as Due Process. Lacking evidence, the charges should have been dropped immediately. Lacking the DUI drug charges they have no evidence outside the ABC agent’s statement. So, the only reasonable explanation is that the ABC agent got bent out of shape because she got cut off in traffic and decided on the spot to make this guy’s life miserable. They’ve dropped the DUI charges and have decided to pursue reckless driving charges. I wonder what evidence they have, since the prior statements of the ABC agent have turned out to have no real credibility?

  • There could have been an added twist here if the locality had a vehicle forfeiture law, whereby even if the criminal charges were dropped, the county/locality could end up owning the car in kangaroo forfeiture court.

  • What I’m wondering is how an ABC agent was able to make a traffic stop and an arrest without the CHP there. Chances are she was driving an unmarked vehicle, which as I understand can’t pull anyone over anyway. However, she could call for assistance.

  • […] DA’s office argued that the charges were not due to Schwab’s overdosing on […]

  • […] Under the Influence… of caffeine?! It doesn’t actually appear that the prosecutors are saying that you can’t drive with caffeine in their system, but […]