For many, caffeine is the ‘drug’ of choice when it comes to a morning jolt, but one man got more than he bargained for when his one-hour commute to north in Solano County, California led him to being charged for driving under the influence of caffeine.
According to defense attorney Stacey Barrett, her client, Joseph Schwab, 36, was driving home on August 5, 2015 when he was pulled over by an agent from the California department of alcoholic beverage control.
He was later charged by the Solano County district attorney with misdemeanor driving under the influence of a drug. That ‘drug’ was caffeine.
Reportedly, Schwab cut the agent off and was ‘driving erratically,’ so he was given a breathalyzer test that showed a 0.00 per cent blood alcohol level, according to what attorney Barrett told the Guardian.
Despite no alcohol found in his system, Schwab was still arrested and sent to Solano County Jail to have his blood drawn and tested for any presence of drugs, which later came back negative for drugs. Several months later, a second test, conducted by a Pennsylvania lab, found he was positive for caffeine in his system, and he was then charged with a misdemeanor for driving under the influence of a drug.
The Guardian reports: “Barrett has filed a motion for the case to be dismissed because the charges were not brought until June 2016 – nearly 10 months after the incident. If that motion is denied, Schwab will take his case to a jury on January 11.”
Sharon Henry, chief deputy district attorney for Solano County, said in a statement that “the charge of driving under the influence is not based upon the presence of caffeine in his system.”
California vehicle code defines a “drug” as any substance besides alcohol that could affect a person in a manner that would “impair, to an appreciable degree” his ability to drive normally.
Jeffrey Zehnder, a forensic toxicologist, says in his is 41-years of experience, he has never seen a prosecution for driving under the influence of caffeine. He added, “Making that case with caffeine would be difficult because the prosecutor would have to show that impaired driving was specifically caused by the caffeine and not any other circumstances.”
Schwab wants this whole nightmare to be over and had this to say: “No one believed me that I only had caffeine in my system until I showed them the lab results. I want the charges to be dismissed and my name to be cleared.” His attorney claims it has had a significant impact on his reputation.
H/T: The Guardian
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