When it comes to cases of driving while intoxicated, even one citation can ruin your life. A DWI ruling can mean hefty fines, jail time and a permanent criminal record that can prevent you from getting into certain schools and applying for certain jobs. While drunk driving is considered a crime, some drivers feel that they were not intoxicated when charged with the violation. There could be several causes of this, but Auto-Brewery Syndrome is increasingly gaining awareness as a possible explanation.
What is Auto-Brewery Syndrome?
The condition refers to the body’s ability to create its own ethanol when an overgrowth of bacteria accumulate in the gut. These bacteria are commonly called Brewer’s Yeast and often take over after a round of antibiotics kills the good stomach bacteria and allows the bad to flourish. As sugars enter the system, the yeast causes fermentation, which produces ethanol. When the person consumes foods high in starch or sugars, the gut acts as an internal brewery and causes unknown intoxication.
Who is susceptible?
While there have been several documented cases appearing under various names for the past century, minimal research has been done on the topic. Scientists have found that antibiotics can promote yeast growth but have been unable to identify other contributing factors that increase a person’s risk. Some cases also seem more difficult to resolve, with anti-fungal treatments and a reduction in starch consumption only showing minimal success in some patients while they prove a complete cure in others.
There have been a few recent cases that have pushed this little-known disease into the spotlight. One case involved a woman in New York. After having a few drinks hours earlier, she was pulled over, given a breath analyzer test and found to have the dangerously high level of 0.4 percent blood alcohol concentration. Despite this reading, she was not exhibiting any symptoms of intoxication. After being isolated in a room, researchers found through periodic testing that her blood alcohol concentration increased to four times the legal limit throughout the day without her touching a drop of alcohol.
What should you do?
If you have been convicted of a DWI and do not believe you were intoxicated, it is worth a conversation with your doctor and lawyer to determine if you have the condition and what your rights are. Contacting a doctor for testing and the right attorney who has experience fighting drunk driving citations can give you the support you need to prove your innocence.