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Auto-brewery syndrome defense against DUI

A New York woman’s rare medical condition is being cited as the reason a town judge has decided to drop the DUI charges against her. In a recent article, the medical condition known as auto-brewery syndrome is getting attention after a woman’s arrest for drunk driving.

Auto-brewery syndrome, also known as gut fermentation syndrome, is a rare medical condition in which an individual’s body turns yeast into alcohol. This condition is getting attention after a New York woman was cited for DUI when pulled over and found to be four times over the legal limit. This condition has been known to cause debilitating intoxication of individuals who have not ingested alcohol.

This medical condition allows the human body to take high carbohydrate foods and process them down into alcohol. First documented in the 70s, auto-brewery syndrome is becoming more widely accepted as a defense against DUI charges. To successfully use this medical condition as a DUI defense, recognized testing and a diagnosis of the condition is necessary.

In the case of the New York woman, she admitted to having only three drinks over a six-hour period when she was arrested for DUI with a BAC of 0.33. Not knowing, but suspecting this condition, the woman’s attorney arranged to have her observed by three medical professionals for one day certifying that she had not ingested alcohol. At the end of the observation day, the woman’s BAC was checked and found to be at 0.36. With this information, the attorney arranged for the woman to be evaluated by a medical professional experienced with this condition. For 18 consecutive days, the New York woman provided a Breathalyzer sample in which her BAC never registered below 0.20.

With a firm diagnosis, DUI charges against the New York woman have been dropped. While this medical condition may be considered rare, there is still much we do not know about it. It could be that more Americans suffer from this condition than originally believed. Individuals facing DUI charges based on a BAC reading they believe is inaccurate should seek professional legal representation.

Source: ABC News, “Woman Beats DUI Rap With Claim Her Body Brews Alcohol,” Mary Esch, Dec. 30, 2015

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