DUI Dismissal

Rare Medical Condition Leads to Dismissal of DUI in New York

Imagine being stopped by the police, given a breathalyzer test, and being told that you are over the limit, but you haven’t had a drink in several hours?  Is this even possible?  Although not a very common situation, it happened to a New York woman, and luckily her case was dismissed.

An unlikely charge of DUI

An upstate New York woman was stopped just before Christmas in Hamburg, New York. After being tested by law enforcement, she was told that her blood alcohol level more than four times the legal limit.  However, the woman insisted that she had not recently consumed sufficient alcohol to be over the limit.  According to her, she had consumed “four drinks between noon and 6 p.m. . . . less than one drink an hour.” However, a woman her size and weight, consuming four drinks in that period of time, should have been well below the legally impaired level of 0.08.

Suspicion that something else was the culprit

Because the woman’s blood alcohol level of nearly 0.40, the police were required to take her to a hospital, as that level is considered life-threatening.  However, because she did not have any of the other symptoms of someone who is intoxicated, the hospital wanted to release her.  But, her husband insisted they run tests and, sure enough, hours later, she still had a blood alcohol level of 0.30, with nothing else to drink.

Extremely rare medical condition to blame

An extremely rare condition, “auto-brewery syndrome” was determined to be the blame for the woman’s inexplicable blood alcohol levels.  This condition occurs when there are abnormal amounts of gastrointestinal yeast, which converts common food carbohydrates into ethanol (or alcohol). The process is believed to take place in the small bowel and is vastly different from the normal gut fermentation in the large bowel that gives our bodies energy. Lucky for her, the court dismissed the charges, based on this medical finding.

If you have questions regarding DUI, or any other criminal defense matters, please contact Ketcham Law by calling us at (205) 296-4233.

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