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Can the body really turn food into alcohol?

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2019 | Uncategorized |

Recognizing that the legal repercussions of driving while under the influence of alcohol can be quite severe, many people who are convicted often come up with creative excuses for why their blood alcohol content was too high to be behind the wheel.  

Recently, one man claimed that the reason his BAC was more than four times the legal limit when he was involved in a head-on collision was because his body turned food into alcohol. According to an article published on Vice, the Ohio man said that he had only had one glass of wine before getting behind the wheel, and there would be no other reason for his BAC to be upwards of .32. 

As unbelievable as it sounds, there is in fact a medical condition known as auto-brewery system, in which the bodies of afflicted individuals transform food into alcohol during the digestive process.

Auto-Brewery Syndrome: What it is

Auto-brewery syndrome is a rare condition that is sometimes referred to as gut fermentation syndrome. Essentially, those with this syndrome have a digestive disorder in which their intestines do not correctly process food. As the food moves through the intestinal tract, it ferments rather than digests in the typical manner, and ethanol is produced. 

Those who have this condition often see their blood alcohol levels spike erratically throughout the day, depending on the type of foods they eat. Carbohydrates, in particular, are known for increasing the alcohol content in their blood. Obviously, alcohol is not processed in the same way either. In the case of the Ohio man facing a conviction of aggravated assault and a two-year prison sentence, he had just one glass of wine before driving home. Normally, this moderate amount of alcohol would still leave the average person capable of driving, but by consuming a solitary glass of wine, his BAC rose to more than four times the legal limit.

In addition to experiencing the symptoms of sudden and extreme intoxication, individuals with this disorder often have a difficult time managing stress, they experience chronic fatigue as well as unexplained aches and pains in their body.

Is Auto-Brewery Syndrom a legal defense against DWI?

While scientific research has proven that this is a legitimate condition that may impact a person’s ability to process food and alcohol, the courts in Ohio did not consider it to be a valid legal defense. Despite being able to prove that he was afflicted with this condition, the Ohio man was still forced to complete his prison sentence. 

In addition, his attorneys argued that he should serve his sentence in a hospital facility where he could receive monitoring and treatment for his condition. Despite this request, the man is serving his time at a general prison facility, where he must consume the same cafeteria food as all of the other prisoners.

What to do if you are facing a drunk driving charge

In every DUI case, there are extenuating circumstances that extend beyond the BAC level determined by a breathalyzer test. It’s imperative that you have the guidance and help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who will collect the necessary evidence and advocate for your rights. Whether you suffer from auto-brewery syndrome, or you have a distinct health issue which may impact your BAC levels, it’s important that you have an attorney on your side who can use the available resources to defend you throughout your legal journey.

Contact us today to set up a consultation appointment with one of our qualified criminal defense attorneys.