A man in California is currently preparing to go to trial after being pulled over for “driving under the influence” nearly 18 months ago. When he was pulled over he did not have any alcohol in his system and was forced to give a blood sample to see if there were any drugs in his system. Turns out the only thing in his system was caffeine.
Though caffeine is technically a drug, many drivers on the road could be considered “under the influence” of it after simply having a cup of coffee in the morning. It is not the type of drug that would impair a person’s ability to drive. However, Joseph Schwab is being charged with a misdemeanor because of it.
One day when Schwab was driving home, he was pulled over by an unmarked car driven by an agent from the California department of alcoholic beverage control. The agent said that he had cut her off while driving and had been driving erratically. So, she made him take a breathalyzer test, which turned up negative for any alcohol.
That test, however, didn’t seem enough for the agent. She quickly booked Schwab into the county jail and took blood. After two screenings the blood tested positive for caffeine, and Schwab was charged. Though, according to the deputy district attorney for Solano County California, there is more to the charge than the presence of caffeine in Schwab's system.
“I’ve never seen this before. I’ve never even heard of it,” said Stacey Barrett, Schwab's attorney. “I have not been provided with any evidence to support a theory of prosecution for a substance other than caffeine at this time.”
California defines a “drug” as a substance other than alcohol that could affect a person in any manner that would “impair” their ability to drive. Even the court’s own forensic toxicologist, Jeffery Zehnder doesn’t believe that caffeine is a substance that would qualify under that definition.
“If that’s the case, then they better come and arrest me,” he joked.
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[H/T The Guardian]