DUI DISMISSED: AUTO BREWERY SYNDROME
A Unique Defense Due to a Unique Factual Situation and Medical Condition
As a Top DUI Attorney in the Fresno area I keep up with and opine on various DUI related news from around the country. While I have long known about auto brewery syndrome, it is rare to see it in the news.
A unique medical condition lead to a woman having a DUI charge dismissed. The accused was able to show that her body has a unique condition which causes excess yeast in her intestine to create alcohol within her body.
The excess yeast in her colon mixes with the sugars, usually produced when metabolizing carbohydrates, and within the warm confined of her body's core, provides the perfect environment for fermentation which creates alcohol.
In this case the accused underwent a series of medical tests that showed her body produces alcohol, at sometimes very high levels. Her BAC was reported as 0.33% at the time of her arrest.
While relatively few people, estimated at between 50-100 nationwide have been diagnosed as auto brewers, it is believed that more than 95% of the "sufferers" do not know they have the syndrome. Some people report acting "goofy" after eating carbohydrates, or being accused of being alcoholics when they haven't consumed any alcohol. These can be signs of auto brewery syndrome.
Long term antibiotic use can contribute to this condition, which can be treated with anti-fungal medication. One aspect of this case that could be a double edged sword is that the driver reported she had consumed three cocktails prior to being stopped. This could both contribute to the BAC observed from the alcohol consumed, as well as add sugars to the stomach or intestines that could contribute to the fermentation and elevated BAC found in this subject.