Man Heads To Trial For Driving Under The Influence Of Caffeine

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

Nearly 65 percent of U.S. adults drink at least a couple cups of coffee per day on average, and a sizable portion of that demographic almost certainly throws back a couple caffeinated brews while driving. In California, one man is finding out the cost of the stimulant may be more than a few bucks.

Joseph Schwab, a 36-year-old union glazier, was pulled over in August 2015 and charged by the Solano County district attorney with misdemeanor driving under the influence of a drug.

His vice? According to The Guardian: caffeine.

Almost 18 months later, Schwab is preparing to go to trial. The only evidence the DA has provided of his intoxication is a blood test showing the presence of caffeine.

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 36-year-old union glazier was given a breathalyzer test which showed a 0.00% blood alcohol level, his attorney said. He was booked into county jail and had his blood drawn, but the resulting toxicology report came back negative for benzodiazepines, cocaine, opiates, THC, carisoprodol (a muscle relaxant), methamphetamine/MDMA, oxycodone, and zolpidem.


A laboratory in Pennsylvania screened the results, as well, and confirmed the results: Nothing but caffeine.

Schwab’s attorney, Stacey Barrett, is expectedly baffled. “I’ve never seen this before,” she told The Guardian, echoing literally everyone reading this right now.

The county district attorney’s office only told the newspaper that it was “conducting further investigation in this matter,” as “driving under the influence is not based upon the presence of caffeine in his system.”

Schwab’s attorney doesn’t know what the D.A. could be alluding, too, telling The Guardian she hasn’t been provided any evidence of a theory to support “prosecution for a substance other than caffeine at this time.”


Barrett filed a motion to dismiss, but if Schwab’s judge denies it, the case heads to trial next month — potentially setting up 2017 to be the sleepiest on record.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

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He was driving erratically, instead of giving him a ticket for that they make this up?