It might be a surprise to New Jersey drivers that a New York judge has dropped a DUI charge against a teacher because she has auto-brewery syndrome. Although the medical condition sounds fake, it is real and makes sufferers appear intoxicated. The woman, a 35-year-old New York resident, was detained in 2014 after a 911 caller reported that she was weaving on the road. Authorities reportedly discovered her driving on a flat tire. The woman’s eyes were allegedly bloodshot and glassy, and her speech was slurred. She told officials that she only had three cocktails, but the results of a breath test showed a blood alcohol concentration of .33 percent.
After being charged for DUI, the teacher worked with an expert and spent $7,000 to demonstrate that her body can meet the legal definition of drunk without consuming alcohol. She was diagnosed with auto-brewery syndrome, which makes the body use excess intestinal yeast to transform food into alcohol.
According to the expert on auto-brewery syndrome, this is a new medical condition that the industry is still trying to understand. He believes that 50 to 100 people have been diagnosed with it, and that about 95 percent of those affected do not know that they have it. Additionally, he does not think it safe to drive during a flare-up, which is triggered by a high-carbohydrate diet, and he reportedly advised the teacher to change her diet to alleviate the symptoms.
On Dec. 9, the judge dismissed the drunk driving charges after reviewing the evidence of the woman’s condition. However, the local prosecutor’s office expects to appeal the decision.
There are more causes of high breath test results than just drinking alcohol. Although auto-brewery syndrome is a new cause, many people believe that certain medications could make drivers blow high BAC results in blood tests. People who have received DUI chargesmay seek legal counsel to guide them on how to demonstrate that a high BAC is not a result of alcohol consumption.