Envision being at a gathering and having some drinks. Rather than consume in water what you are also consuming in alcohol, you just stick to the alcohol. It’s been a long night and you need to get home. If you choose to also get in a car and drive, this could lead to a DUI/DWI charge. In Maryland, the legal limit is .08 and to be charged with DUI/DWI, your blood alcohol content will be measured with an initial breathalyzer test (Maryland is an implied consent state). But what if it is not as simple as just blowing a .08?
Your body makes a difference in your BAC
A breathalyzer measures your breath alcohol content and, depending on your body type and the amount of food you have had, you could blow a .08 after having just a couple of beers. Now, there could be an even bigger factor to your BAC: your digestive system.
Recently, a woman in New York was arrested because her registered BAC was more than four times the legal limit. Little did she know, she has an extremely rare condition called auto-brewery syndrome, also known as gut fermentation syndrome. A person with auto-brewery syndrome has a digestive system that converts ordinary food into alcohol. For instance, the woman in New York was pulled over with a BAC of .33, having only had three cocktails during the day. When doctors tested her over a 12 hour period, her BAC was still extremely high, at levels of .279, .379 and .40. It turns out that she had high levels of yeast in her intestines that fermented high carbohydrate foods into alcohol. Her documented medical condition ultimately convinced the judge to throw out her DWI charge.
Combating the DUI/DWI
Although the New York woman’s DWI charge was dropped, this case is highly unusual. The fact that she did not know that she had this condition made an impact on the judge’s decision. If she had known, the judge might not have been so lenient.
Maryland law states that “the Administration may revoke the license of any person who is convicted of driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or while so far impaired by any drug, any combination of drugs, or a combination of one or more drugs and alcohol that the person cannot drive a vehicle safely.”
The above case raises awareness of auto-brewery syndrome and has the potential to raise more defenses for DWI/DUI charges. The legal team at the Law Offices of Alpert Schreyer, LLC has the knowledge, skills and training that will help you prepare your defense. With over 70 years of combined experience, our office has successfully defended over 1,000 individuals charged with DUI and DWI in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Contact us today!