Calif. Man Tests Positive for Caffeine, Is Charged With DUI
A California man was charged with a DUI after test results showed only caffeine in his system.
Joseph Schwab, 36, was pulled over in 2015 for allegedly driving erratically and even cut off an officer from the California department of alcoholic beverage control agency.
The officer who pulled him over, Agent Ott, said he was “weaving in and out of traffic almost causing several collisions,” KCRA-TV reported. The agent believed he was on drugs.
“I was 100 percent confident that I was not under the influence of anything,” Schwab said.
Ott said she found workout supplements, including powders—but all of them were legal.
When she carried out several field sobriety tests, she noticed Schwab’s pupils were dilated.
“The driver seemed very amped up, very agitated, very combative, and she thought he was under the influence of something,” Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams told KCRA in elaborating.
He agreed to a blood test and the results came back negative for drugs, including marijuana, opiates, cocaine, methamphetamine, and others.
Caffeine was the lone positive hit.
“I didn’t believe it,” Stacy Barrett, Schwab’s attorney, told the station. “I actually consulted with the other attorneys in my office, to make sure that I wasn’t missing something.”
“I’ve never seen this before,” said Barrett, as reported by The Guardian. “I’ve never even heard of it.”
Schwab and his attorney have now filed a motion to get the charges against him dismissed—saying that driving while “under the influence” of caffeine isn’t a crime.
Jeffrey Zehnder, a forensic toxicologist, told the paper: “There are no studies that demonstrate that driving is impaired by caffeine, and they don’t do the studies, because no one cares about caffeine.”
Schwab added that the charge has hurt him financially and professionally.
“No one believed me that I only had caffeine in my system until I showed them the lab results,” he said. “I want the charges to be dismissed and my name to be cleared.”