California Man Charged With Driving Under The Influence Of Caffeine


Think twice before drinking energy drinks and driving in Solano County.

If you happen to be driving in the California county of Solano, located north of Oakland, be careful about how much coffee you consume. The Guardian reports that 36-year-old Joseph Schwab is being prosecuted for driving under the influence of a drug despite the fact that blood tests showed he only had caffeine in his system. The incident occurred on August 5th, 2015 when an agent with the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agency pulled Schwab over claiming that he had “cut her off and was driving erratically.”

The 36-year-old passed a breathalyzer test with flying colors, returning a BAC of 0.00%. A blood test couldn’t turn up any substances in his system. It took a second blood test done by a lab in Pennsylvania to finally reveal that Schwab was all jacked up on caffeine at the time of his arrest. If this story sounds ridiculous it’s because it is. The attorney representing the caffeinated “criminal,” Stacey Barrett, said that she had never seen or heard of a case like this before. She asked that the charges be dismissed on the grounds that the district attorney took 10 months to file them. Oh, and that they are the stupidest charges ever filed. Just kidding, she didn't say that but she should have!

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That motion hasn’t been approved or denied yet. If it isn’t approved Barrett is prepared to go to trial. We think she’d win. What jury would convict a person of driving under the influence of drugs when the only substance in said person’s system was caffeine!? This seems like a clear-cut case of an officer abusing power and the courts trying to cover that abuse up. Sharon Henry, chief deputy district attorney for Solano County, told The Guardian that her office is “conducting further investigation in this matter.” They may know something that Barrett doesn’t. “The charge of driving under the influence is not based upon the presence of caffeine in his system,” she stated.

If that’s true Schwab’s attorney has no knowledge of what this mysterious substance could be. “I have not been provided with any evidence to support a theory of prosecution for a substance other than caffeine at this time. Nor I have received any statements, reports, etc documenting any ongoing investigation since the [toxicology report] dated 18 November 2015,” Barret said. While this story may seem funny—because it is—the reality is that Joseph Schwab has an arrest for driving while under the influence of a drug on his record. That’s a big wrong that needs to be righted. No one should have to explain why they were pulled over for being high on life.

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