California Man Arrested, Charged With Driving Under The Influence… Of Caffeine
38-year-old Joseph Schwab has been fighting a DUI for over a year, despite the fact that he was not under the influence of any illegal drugs at the time, he did, however, test positive for caffeine.
The Guardian reported that Schwab was pulled over last August by an officer who accused him of driving erratically.
Schwab was driving home from work when he was pulled over by an agent from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, who was driving an unmarked vehicle. The agent said Schwab had cut her off and was driving erratically. The officer claims that Schwab cut her off and she gave him a breathalyzer which showed a blood alcohol content of 0.00%.
Unfortunately, the officer was still not convinced. So, she arrested him and took him to jail so his blood could be drawn for other drugs. His blood tests came back negative for all illegal drugs. But he did test positive for caffeine. For some reason, this was enough to charge Schwab with a DUI.
“I’ve never seen this before; I’ve never even heard of it.” Stacey Barrett, Schwab’s attorney said.
“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,” she added.
“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,” Schwab said.
The California legal code specifies that a “drug” is any substance other than alcohol that could impair a person’s driving, but there is no precedent for caffeine negatively affecting a person’s ability to drive. In fact, it is quite the opposite as caffeine is marketed in gas stations across the country as increasing alertness while on the roadways.
Jeffrey Zehnder, a forensic toxicologist interview by the Guardian, believes that the case against Schwab is extremely weak.
“It’s really stupid, If that’s the case, then they better come and arrest me,” Zehnder joked, adding that, “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.”
What this case illustrates is the arbitrary nature of the state to use any reason possible to find a person guilty. The police state has claimed a right to search your most private property — your own blood. And, whatever they find inside it — can and will be used against you in a court of law.
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