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Auto-Brewery Syndrome: A new defense to drunk driving?

On Behalf of | Dec 31, 2015 | Drunk Driving

One of the recent news reports that has gained national attention draws attention to the way medical conditions may affect drivers on the roads. Most people know that diabetics could pass out when driving, those with epilepsy could have a seizure and other medical conditions could suddenly cause an emergency.

One of the most unusual medical conditions ever heard of has drawn attention for causing the body to appear drunk, even though the person hasn’t had anything to drink. In this case, a woman had been arrested after driving with a .33 blood alcohol concentration. That’s just slightly over four times the legal limit to drive.

Normally, a person can’t function when alcohol in the blood reaches that level. However, this woman reportedly has Auto-Brewery Syndrome, which is when the body turns its own food and drink into alcohol. When the police stopped her for swerving side to side in her vehicle, she told them she had only drank three drinks. The BAC test didn’t match up to her claims.

She has reportedly been diagnosed with Auto-Brewery Syndrome, though, so a judge has thrown out her DUI case. The rare medical condition creates ethanol in the body through fermentation in the digestive system. In the body, yeast works with food to create its own alcohol; most people would digest or eliminate food and drink before ever reaching that stage. If you want to use a claim like this in your case, remember that it is necessary to have medical records showing you have the syndrome. Without it, you will not likely be able to prove your medical history.

Source: Carla Ives, “New drunk driving defense: Auto-Brewery Syndrome or my body made the booze,” accessed Dec. 31, 2015


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