Question: I read about a lady who had a brewery in her body. I read that her body, even without her drinking, produces alcohol. So it's like she's walking around drunk or buzzed. I was wondering if this would be a good defense to my DUI charge. I need a good defense.
I got arrested in Forsyth County. The deputy sheriff said he saw me pull thru a red light without stopping. I told him I had two beers. And I did those field sobriety tests. I thought I looked pretty good but he arrested me. I took the breath test at the Forsyth jail and I blew a .322. It's so high I don't know what happened. I wasn't pounding drinks, but I was drinking, I admit that.
I was driving home from an Atlanta Hawks game when I got stopped.
I am writing to ask if you've heard of people utilizing the defense that their body just naturally produces alcohol and that it's not because they are drinking.
Will that work as a defense to my DUI charge?
M.H. in Cumming, Georgia
Answer: I think you are referring to a case that has recently been spotlighted in the national media. It was reported that a woman charged with DUI in New York used what's known as “auto-brewery syndrome" as a defense to her DUI (in New York it's referred to as “DWI,” in Georgia it's called “DUI”).
As it turned out, she proved that she suffers from the extremely rare syndrome and it was not because she was consuming alcohol that her breathalyzer test was highly over the limit.
In “auto-brewery syndrome,” yeast that is normally found in the GI tract is affected by a meal that has a high amount of carbohydrates, and the yeast metabolize the carbohydrates into ethanol. In other words, the yeast creates alcohol in a person's body simply because the person ate a lot of carbohydrates.
People affected by the syndrome are, in many ways, like “functioning alcoholics.” They may not exhibit any levels of impairment from alcohol until they are several times the legal limit for booze. Syndrome sufferers adapt to the high levels of alcohol in their blood.
The medical literature contains the case of a man whose stomach yeast fermented the sugars of starch in foods like pasta, a bagel and even sometimes just a soda, into ethanol, causing him to get drunk. His body turned the starch into alcohol.
For the defense of “auto-brewery syndrome” to work, you need to be properly diagnosed by a medical doctor for this rare ailment.
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