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Caffeine Overload: Man Charged with DUI for Too Much Coffee

Dec 29, 2016 09:12 AM EST

A California man is scheduled to appear in court early next year after being charged with driving under the influence of drugs, which appeared to be caffeine.

On Aug. 5, 2015, Joseph Schwab, 36, was pulled over by an agent from the California department of alcoholic beverage control. The agent, driving an unmarked vehicle, accused Schwab of cutting her off and driving erratically.

Schwab underwent a breathalyzer test that showed that he has 0.00 percent alcohol in his blood. Not yet convinced that Schwab was completely sober, the agent booked Schwab into county jail and got his blood drawn. However, the toxicology report came back negative for THC, muscle relaxant, zolpidem, oxycodone, methamphetamine, cocaine, benzodiazepines and opiates.

The blood sample take from Schwab was later sent to laboratory in Pennsylvania to be screen for the second time. The sample remained negative for different hard-to-mention drugs. However, the second toxicology report found something in Schwab's blood that can be found in the blood of almost every driver, caffeine.

"No one believed me that I only had caffeine in my system until I showed them the lab results," said Schwab in a report from The Guardian. "I want the charges to be dismissed and my name to be cleared."

In a report from Road and Track, Stacey Barret, Schwab's defense attorney, noted that she has asked the prosecution to provide any evidence pertaining his client's DUI charges. However, Barret has yet to receive anything, even the toxicology reports from the Pennsylvania laboratory and county jail.

Forensic toxicologist Jeffrey Zehnder, who has been working in cases of impaired driving allegations for over 40 years, called the case against Schwab "really stupid". Zehnder noted that throughout his career he has never seen one where the drug in question was caffeine or coffee.

So far, no scientific studies have been done to examine the link between coffee and driving ability.

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