A Rare Disorder Can Cause DUI Without Drinking

In 2015, a woman was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) after she collided with a parked car. Later, it was determined that the driver’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) was 0.10 percent. While the woman had admitted to being an alcoholic in the past and being arrested previously for drinking and driving, the driver was a recovering alcoholic and was not drinking when the most recent incident occurred. At the time, the only thing the woman was drinking in excess was orange juice.

Auto-Brewery Syndrome Responsible for Woman’s DUI

The woman was drinking a lot of orange juice at the time, up to a full gallon per day. It was discovered that the driver suffers from a rare condition known as auto-brewery syndrome – an actual medical condition, this syndrome causes the sufferer to produce very high levels of yeast within his or her digestive track. During the process of making beer, yeast is used to eat the sugar that is expelled from boiling various kinds of grains and malts. The yeast then releases carbon dioxide and alcohol.

Considering the woman’s condition, it is easy to deduce that the excess yeast in her digestive system was consuming the excess sugars from the orange juice and expelling alcohol and becoming intoxicated even though she was not drinking any alcoholic beverages. This could very easily be the reason why she got into the accident with the parked car. Even with this evidence, the driver opted to take a plea deal and pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of reckless driving – she received probation for this conviction.

The driver had spent about $25,000 fighting her DUI charge before taking the plea deal, including the polygraph test she privately commissioned and the lawyers’ fees. Her decision to take the plea deal came when she realized, even with the best legal team, there was a possibility of still being convicted, and a DUI conviction would easily end her career and take away her livelihood and financial stability.

Since the incident, the driver has stopped drinking orange juice and has reported that she has not had any other issues with the auto-brewery syndrome or intoxication. If you or someone you know is facing a drinking and driving charge, regardless of the situation, it is important to seek the legal advice of a knowledgeable DUI attorney. These legal professionals can help you build a defense, take the case to trial, or arrange a plea bargain for a lesser charge.

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