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Auto-brewery syndrome can lead to drunk driving charges

What would happen if one had not consumed any alcohol, but still got accused of drunk driving, following a New York car accident? That is what happened to one woman who hit a parked car in 2015.

As a recovering alcoholic, she knew that she had not consumed any alcohol before she hit the car. But, when the police came and administered a breath test, her blood alcohol content level registered at 0.10. How could this be?

The woman, and others like her, suffered from a condition known as auto-brewery syndrome. This rare condition causes a person's digestive tract to turn high-carbohydrate or sugary foods (in this woman's case, orange juice) into alcohol. Often, a person does not even know they have this disorder until they are arrested for drunk driving or lose their job due to the disorder.

Those who suffer from this disorder may feel as if they are intoxicated and may even wake up with a hangover, even if they had not drank alcohol. Switching to a diet high in meat and vegetables, helps control the symptoms of the disorder.

According to one doctor, with the prevalence of DUIs in our nation, it is important to recognize that some people have this medical condition that needs to be treated. These people are not simply trying to trick the legal system. Extensive testing can help prove a person has auto-brewery syndrome, as can a diagnosis by a medical expert.

Auto-brewery syndrome deserves more attention. It can lead to false accusations of drunk driving. Those in New York who believe they have this syndrome, and have been charged with drunk driving should take the steps necessary to fight such charges, including consulting with an attorney.

Source: U.S. News & World Reports, "Woman Avoids DUI Explaining Orange Juice Made Her Drunk," Steven Nelson, Jan. 13, 2017

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