Pennsylvania folk are no strangers to breweries. Some people even brew their own beers at home as a convenient, fun hobby. But there is at least one case in which a woman’s very own physiological makeup serves as her own natural brewery.
A recent out-of-state drunk driving case has turned into less of a criminal story and more of a science report. The defendant in the DUI case did drink on the day of her arrest, but it wasn’t her alcohol consumption that led to her illegal BAC level; it was her rare medical condition that landed her in handcuffs– and in medical news.
Officials charged the woman with driving under the influence after tests showed her BAC to be well above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. The suspect’s husband, however, became curious about his wife’s health, noting how her drinking and her BAC level didn’t seem to match up. He and his wife’s defense requested medical tests and research to see if his wife had some medical issue that might explain an otherwise inexplicable situation that got his wife arrested.
The tests showed that the woman did, in fact, produce high levels of alcohol in her system — levels that would get her arrested if she were caught driving. Strangely, she produced high BAC levels despite not having consumed alcohol. She has a health condition called auto-brewery syndrome that causes the excessive amount of yeast in her digestive system to convert the carbohydrates she consumes into ethanol (alcohol).
In this DUI case, the defendant’s proven medical condition resulted in the dismissal of the criminal charge. Her condition is a rare one, but there are other medical situations that can result in false or misleading DUI and field sobriety test results, too. Someone who is charged with drunk driving should work with a defense lawyer who understands what aspects are important to look at in every person’s DWI case.