If you’ve driven drunk and submitted to a breathalyzer test, a drunk driving charge is a hard thing to beat. Driving under the influence (DUI) lawyers will assist you in your defense and help you navigate the legal system as far as your penalties are concerned, but for many drunk drivers, if you’ve done the crime you’ll do the time.
But that’s not what happened to a school teacher from New York when she went to court for a drunk driving charge. She came bearing proof that she was suffering from auto-brewery syndrome, otherwise known as ‘gut fermentation,’ and it was a successful defense because her body essentially takes high-carbs food and brews its own alcohol.
It all started when the 35 year old was spotted driving erratically and pulled over by police. When they asked her to submit to a breathalyzer test she blew 0.33, so she was arrested on a drunk driving charge. When she and her attorney appeared in court they provided documentation indicating that she suffered from gut fermentation and wasn’t drunk driving at all. The judge approved her documents and dismissed the charges against her.
Gut fermentation is such a rare medical condition that there have only been a few cases reported in the past 30 years. One man in Texas was also diagnosed with gut fermentation in 2010 after his wife used a breathalyzer to test his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) every day for a month. Even on the days he hadn’t been drinking at all, he would blow 0.40 on a breathalyzer, and he ended up in the hospital with a .037 BAC. After the doctors performed a battery of tests they found he had an overgrowth of yeast in his gut, and discovered that when the yeast ferments, it turns carbohydrates into ethanol alcohol. After he was cured of gut fermentation with anti-fungal medications, he’s now registering 0 on a breathalyzer.
Thankfully for this woman, she can walk away from court with no real harm done. That’s not the usual course of action when someone has been arrested on a drunk driving charge, so this is a great reminder not to drink and drive.