A New York woman was recently successful in having her drunk driving charges dismissed after raising an unusual defense that her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) did not reflect her level of impairment because her body functions as a brewery. That’s right – a brewery.
According to court documents from the Buffalo suburb of Hamburg, the woman’s defense centered on a rare condition in which food – particularly those high in carbohydrates or yeast – ferment in a way that essentially makes it alcohol. Known as gut fermentation syndrome or autobrewery syndrome, the condition is relatively new to the medical community – being first introduced in the 1970’s. Today, it is being raised more frequently as a defense in DUI cases.
Legal experts have commented on the case, saying that while it may be a verifiable medical condition that can result in high BAC levels, raising it as a defense is not always so easy. For example, courts or juries may be skeptical of the claims, which is why it becomes essential to supply adequate evidence about the condition and testing, and argue the points skillfully.
This particular case and defense is interesting not only in its strangeness – people with autobrewery syndrome can actually feel drunk without ever drinking – but also because it highlights the difficulty of creating an effective defense, even when what is being said is true.
At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, our criminal defense attorneys have represented many clients charged with DUI and other crimes, and we’re familiar with how courts and juries react to what they’re being told. We also understand that when humans are uncertain – as they almost always are – it become essential to support arguments with clear and convincing evidence. This is why we work diligently throughout the entirety of cases and strive to create defense strategies that put our clients in the best position to win.
If you have questions about your DUI or criminal charges and how our legal team can create a defense on your behalf, contact our firm for a FREE and confidential consultation. We serve clients throughout Los Angeles, Ventura County, and Southern California.