It’s not every day that an impaired driving case becomes really popular new online, but one such case in California has been making the rounds lately for one reason and one reason only: the offender was charged with driving under the influence of caffeine.
It might sound hard to believe but it’s true. A man named Joseph Schwab from California was driving in August of last year and was pulled over by a police officer because he believed that Schwab was driving under the influence. Oddly enough, his breathalyzer test came in at zero, and that means he had absolutely no alcohol in his system.
Because his breathalyzer test revealed no alcohol the police officer believed he was driving while impaired thanks to drugs, so they asked him to come back to the jail and they drew a blood sample. After screening for every kind of drug, the only substance found in Schwab’s system was caffeine.
Although you’d think that was the end of Schwab’s time with the police, something unexpected happened: despite a breathalyzer test and blood evidence showing nothing but caffeine in his system, police charged him with impaired driving anyway. They’ve stated that they did so because of his reckless driving and overall attitude when stopped.
If you have a hard time believing someone could end up fighting an impaired driving case because of something as simple as coffee, you’re not alone. The case traveled it’s way around social media and caused an uproar, mostly because people normally associate impaired driving with alcohol or drugs and not a hot beverage millions of people start their day with.
In a possible response to the backlash, prosecutors have dropped the impaired driving case against Schwab and have announced they no longer believe they can prove that he was driving under the influence.
Breathalyzer technology may have made it simple to charge drunk drivers, but this case just goes to show that it’s not as easy to charge a drugged driver. For law enforcement it’s probably better to be safe than let a possible impaired driving case slip through, and charging him until they discover whether or not he was actually under the influence was the best course of action.
Now that the case has been dropped, Americans can resume drinking coffee as normal.