South Carolina residents may have heard about a DUI case in another state that was recently dismissed due to a woman claiming a medical issue caused her high Breathalyzer test readout. Little is known about auto-brewery syndrome, but with the right help, this woman was able to use it as a successful criminal defense against her DUI charges. So, what is auto-brewery syndrome?
Auto-brewery syndrome is when a person’s body turns excess yeast into alcohol. This process of converting food carbohydrates into alcohol occurs in the small bowel. It is a rare condition, but is one that has been studied since the early 1900s.
People with auto-brewery syndrome can function with alcohol levels far above what most people are able to handle. In this particular case, the accused showed no visible signs of impairment, but her Breathalyzer readout was about four times the state’s legal limit. The woman and her husband insisted on medical testing, and it was later found that she suffers from this rare condition.
With medical proof in hand, the accused was able to have her DUI charges dismissed. The prosecuting attorney on this case is still hoping to appeal this decision, though. While this criminal defense will not work for everyone, it is certainly something to think about, as most people with the disorder are not even aware that it is a problem. Those in South Carolina who think that medical issues — such as this — contributed to high Breathalyzer readouts and subsequent DUI charges can work to fight their cases in court. While proving a medical problem is not necessarily easy, it may be possible to have charges reduced or dismissed entirely through further investigation and with the assistance of medical experts.
Source: CNN, “Woman claims her body brews alcohol, has DUI charge dismissed“, Sandee LaMotte, Jan. 1, 2016