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California Driver Going to Trial Over DWC: Driving While Caffeinated

By George Khoury, Esq. on December 27, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

While it may be common knowledge that caffeine is considered a drug, one California man may be facing an unheard-of DUI charge. After allegedly cutting off an officer from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, he was arrested for DUI. However, his breathalyzer results were clear of any alcohol. When his blood sample was taken, it also showed no trace of any drugs or alcohol, excepting caffeine.

The driver was arrested in August 2015, and the charges were not filed until June of 2016. While the district attorney in charge of prosecuting the case insists that the charges are not based upon caffeinated driving, the driver's attorney explains that there is no evidence whatsoever of drugs or alcohol in his client's system.

Drugged Driving

While most people might balk at the idea of someone getting a DUI for driving under the influence of caffeine, there may be certain times when it is appropriate. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant if it is taken in high doses. Generally, a person would need to consume quite a bit of caffeine to impair their ability to drive, but this does depend on the individual. Some individuals have no tolerance for caffeine, and therefore, a small amount could cause them to drive erratically and dangerously.

California's DUI laws, and every state's DUI laws for that matter, specifically include driving under the influence of drugs. The drugs in question do not have to be illegal drugs. For example, a person who is taking prescription medications that make them drowsy, or affect their ability to driver, can also be charged with a DUI.

Furthermore, not being over legal limit on an alcohol or blood test is not a complete defense to a DUI in California or many other states. Generally, if a prosecutor can prove that a person's driving ability was impaired due to being under the influence of a drug and/or alcohol, they can still be convicted. It is rather common for someone who is on medication, or has smoked marijuana, to be completely inebriated, but still below the legal limit.

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