Man Charged for Driving Under The Influence of Caffeine


On August 15, 2015 John Schwab was pulled over by a California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control agent.  The agent was driving in an unofficial vehicle, and complained that Mr. Schwab was driving unsteadily on the road.

Mr. Schwab was taken to Solano County Jail, where they measure his blood alcohol content. The report came back with a 0.00% blood alcohol reading. In an effort to rule out any technical errors, a second test was conducted in a Pennsylvania lab where only caffeine was found in Mr. Schwab’s system. Despite the BAC readings, John Schwab was eventually charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence of a drug.

Almost 18 months later, Joseph Schwab is now preparing to go to court.  According to Stacey Barrett, Defense Lawyer for Mr. Schwab, the District Attorney only has caffeine as evidence against Joseph Schwab.

With no evidence of an actual drug in Mr. Schwab and lack of any statements, reports or documentation supporting the DA’s theory, the DA will have a difficult time proving Schwab was influenced by just caffeine.

Attorney Barrett has submitted a motion to dismiss this case since the charges were brought almost 10 months after the arrest.  In case the appeal is denied; Mr. Schwab will be taking his case to a jury on January 11, 2017.

Forensic toxicologist, Jeffrey Zehnder, stated that “It’s really stupid” and that he had never witnessed a prosecution for driving under the influence of caffeine.

More exactly, the California Law considers a “drug” almost any kind of substances, besides alcohol that can impair the reasoning of a person to a significant degree.  However, according to expert opinions of both Attorney Barrett, and Forensic Scientist Zehnder; this case will become difficult to prove in court, because there is no substantial scientific evidence that holds caffeine responsible for making someone’s senses “impaired.”

Mr. Schwab is hopeful that the charges will be dropped so that he can move on with his life and have his name cleared.


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