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Auto-brewery syndrome could lead to false DUI charges

Most Texas residents only get drunk when they drink alcohol, but a rare condition called auto-brewery syndrome can cause some people to display drunken-like symptoms all of the time. The digestive condition affects the way that people metabolize carbohydrates, leading to an excess of yeast in the body that turns to alcohol.

Auto-brewery syndrome, also called gut-fermentation syndrome, is a mysterious condition with no known cure. Dietary changes and anti-fungal medications can help people with the condition to manage their symptoms and lead more normal lives. A person with auto-brewery syndrome who continues to eat a diet high in carbs, yeast, sugar and alcohol could display symptoms like fatigue, mental impairment, mood swings and headaches. The disease could also lead to death by alcohol poisoning.

People with auto-brewery syndrome could fail a blood alcohol test even if they have not consumed any alcohol. Typical signs of alcohol-impairment like slurred speech and bloodshot eyes can also be noticed in a person who is affected by auto-brewery syndrome. In a case in New York, a woman had her DUI charge dismissed on the grounds that she had auto-brewery syndrome. The dismissal was issued even though the woman had a .40 BAC.

People who are facing a drunk driving charge may be able to dispute the results of a sobriety test by proving that they have a medical condition that skewed the results. For example, diabetes often causes sufferers to slur their words when their blood sugar drops, and an attorney could show medical evidence in an attempt to get the charges dropped.

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R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
1545 Heights Blvd. Suite 600
Houston, TX 77008

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