What is Auto-Brewery Syndrome?


WHAT IS AUTO-BREWERY SYNDROMEA breathalyzer measures the alcohol content of your breath. Depending on your body type and the amount of food you have had, you could blow a .08 after having just a couple drinks. Now, there could be an even bigger factor to your BAC: your digestive system.

A woman in New York was arrested with a BAC over four times the legal limit. Little did she know, she had an extremely rare condition called auto-brewery syndrome. Also known as gut fermentation syndrome, this disorder 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.


Although her DWI charge was dropped, this case is highly unusual. The fact that she did not know 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”.

The above case raises awareness of auto-brewery syndrome and has the potential to raise more defenses for DWI or DUI charges. The legal team at the Law Offices of Alpert Schreyer, LLC has the knowledge, skills, and training to 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!

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