Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime. Most know that. It does not matter whether a driver is intoxicated by alcohol or drugs, which is why it is referred to as a driving under the influence/driving while intoxicated (DUI/DWI), terms broad enough to encompass those driving under influence of a number of different substances.
Man Arrested for Elevated Caffeine Levels
One driver in California has been charged with a crime that seems to stretch the limits of this definition. Recently, a man was pulled over for driving with too much caffeine in his system. The man was charged after he allegedly swerved, cutting off an unmarked officer’s car. Testing showed 0% alcohol in his system and no traces of other illegal substances. The man is currently scheduled to go to trial, and the only evidence that the state has is a blood test showing elevated caffeine levels. The test results were independently confirmed by a second laboratory, which also found only caffeine in the man’s blood.
Oddly, the state contends that the intoxication is not because of the caffeine, but given that there was no other substance in the man’s system, experts are puzzled as to what the state may be alluding to. In fact, the rules of discovery require that a prosecutor provide whatever information that it has to support a conviction to a defendant’s attorney before trial, and no such evidence showing any substance other the caffeine has been provided to the man’s attorneys.
The arresting officer has stated that she found over the counter workout supplements in the man’s car, but all were legal to own. The officer noted that the driver seemed “amped up” and “agitated” during field sobriety tests, but without more, that would not provide the basis for a DUI.
No Laws Against Caffeine
It is well known that exercise supplements can contain caffeine, but there is no law against driving with caffeine in one’s system. California law, like many other states, does define a drug for the purpose of a DUI as any substance that can impair the ability to drive normally, but never has that definition been extended to caffeine.
There are no known, credible studies on the effect that caffeine has on driving, largely because nobody believes that it has any negative effect on driving. In fact, some make the point that people may drive better with caffeine in their system because it makes them more alert and less prone to falling asleep behind the wheel.
Despite the fact that most legal experts can not understand why the case is still being prosecuted, the man is still having to spend money on a legal defense, even just to try to get the case dismissed. Lawyers have filed for dismissal, in order to avoid a trial, but that motion has not been heard yet.
If you are arrested or charged with a crime for driving while under the influence of any substance contact the attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss your case.