Driving Under the Influence… of Starbucks
An interesting case out of California (of course) has a man being prosecuted for “driving under the influence”… of caffeine.
Joseph Schwab was pulled over by a California cop – an Alcoholic Beverage Control cop – who accused him of cutting her off and driving “erratically.” Like a dentist in search of cavities to help him cover the cost of his new boat, the ABC cop was determined to pin some kind of DUI charge on Schwab, even after he took and passed a Breathalyzer test that measured (cue Dean Wormer from Animal House voice) zero point zero alcohol in his system.
So she carted him off to the clink where his blood was drawn (no doubt against his will; the Fifth Amendment being as null as the Fourth) to test for other “drugs.”
Caffeine was (eventually, after a second lab test) discovered.
Voila – Smith was charged with driving under the influence of a “drug” (which caffeine is, of course) just as if he’d been boozing it up – or toking it up. He faces the usual huge lawyer bills, license suspension and general tarring and feathering. It is entirely possible he may be required, as part of his eventual sentence (assuming a conviction) to attend mandatory “drug abuse” counseling sessions.
Schwab’s lawyer, Stacey Barrett, says it may end up before a jury. Your tax dollars at work.
The case tells us a lot about the vengefulness of the state and its minions – as well as something about what may be in store for us with regard to driving under the “influence” of… pretty much anything.
First, there is this ABC cop.
This is speculation, but it is probable she was not happy when the Breathalyzer registered zero and no “illegal substances” were discovered in Schwab’s blood. You have probably heard the saying: When you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And when you are a vengeful hammer…
Schwab’s real crime was Contempt of Cop. This offense is not on the books, of course, but it carries weighty consequences.
He “cut off” the ABC harpie.
She will show him who’s boss.
A mere traffic ticket won’t do the trick. But a major misdemeanor – one that carries with it the possibility of jail time as well as license suspension and years of exorbitantly expensive insurance premiums, based on a conviction for “DUI”… One can almost see this cop poring through the statute book to find something … anything.
The statute book obliged. Under CA law – and the law in many states – any “substance” that could impair a person’s driving qualifies.
Consider the possibilities.
How many people regularly take meds that could impair their driving? Note the italics. Could. Not necessarily did.
This low legal threshold is enough to charge most of us of with “DUI” at almost any time.
How about tryptophan? You know, the stuff that’s in turkey that makes you feel glad (and tired) after eating a plateful?
Tryptophan isn’t illegal – but then, neither is caffeine. Both, however, are “substances” that could affect your driving… in theory.
And caffeine is found in more than just coffee. It is in soda and chocolate, too.