The Solano County District Attorney's Office decided Wednesday to drop a DUI charge against a driver who only tested positive for caffeine, after his pupils were dilated and he seemed agitated and "amped up" to arresting officers at the time, NBC affiliate KCRA reported.
The charges were dropped more than 16 months after Joseph Schwab, 36, was pulled over on Interstate 680 near Gold Hill Road as he drove to his Fairfield home. The Alcohol Beverage Control agent who pulled over Schwab in August 2015 said he had been weaving in and out of traffic, and seemed very combative, KCRA reported. Inside Schwab's car, the agent found a number of workout supplements including powders, but all of them were legal.
A blood test showed that only caffeine was pumping through his system.
"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," District Attorney Krishna Abrams said Wednesday in a news release.
Abrams still believes some drug other than caffeine was in Schwab's system, but that testing didn't reveal it, KCRA reported. And he will still be charged with reckless driving, the DA told KCRA, a charge Schwab's attorney said she'd fight. Abrams stressed she was not influenced by criticism from the community about overcharging the case.
"The attention from the press or the media or the social media would never dictate what we do in a case," Abrams said. "As my dad always says, 'shut out the noise and do what's right.'"
Abrams also said that field sobriety and blood tests don't screen for everything.
"Do we wish that it could test for more drugs?" Abrams said. "Absolutely, because then we would know what was in his system."
On Tuesday, Abrams said she was still moving forward with the DUI charge. But she changed course a day later after talking with forensic toxicologists and her top investigators. KCRA reported that Abrams felt she could no longer prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Schwab's attorney Stacy Barrett sent KCRA a statement saying her client is relieved the DUI is being dismissed for lack of evidence.