A California man who was facing DUI charges because of driving under the influence of caffeine has been cleared of all allegations. The bizarre DUI defense case began with the man's arrest in August 2015, when he was pulled over by police officers who thought he was driving recklessly. The defendant was accused of erratic driving, and officers' sworn statements indicate that the driver was acting as though he was under the influence of a stimulant.
The problem? The defendant's drug tests all came back negative.
Officers in the case tried to push for DUI penalties because, they said, not all drugs are detected in official laboratory tests. The observations from the officer should have been substantial enough evidence to convict the defendant, according to prosecutors' arguments. Furthermore, after consulting with "forensic experts," the prosecutors believed that the man may have been driving under the influence of some type of drug.
The defendant's attorney said she was baffled by the case because the man not only testified that he did not consume drugs, but his blood did not show drug use. Although caffeine can have negative medical consequences -- including the slight potential for addiction -- it has never before been implicated as a cause for driving while intoxicated charges. Ultimately, the charges were dropped by the prosecutors' office.
This case illustrates the tenacity and misdirected efforts that often characterize prosecutors' offices. These government employees are driven to increase their personal conviction rates so they can achieve career success. That should not be allowed to happen at the expense of innocent defendants. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand whether the DUI penalties you are facing are substantiated, allowing you to make the best decisions for your future in court.
Source: The Fix, "Man Charged With DUI After Testing Positive For Caffeine Gets Justice," Britni de la Cretaz, Jan. 05, 2017