Judge Tosses Drunk-Driving Charge Against Woman Whose Body Acts As A Brewery

We learned a few years ago that there is a real medical condition where a person’s body basically turns into a brewery through no actions of their own. Though it can result in a drunken-like state that some might chalk up to simple inebriation, auto-brewery syndrome is involuntary, and as such, helped one woman who has it beat a drunk driving charge.

A New York judge dismissed the charge against a woman who was able to prove that her body is its own little brewery, using excess intestinal yeast to turn her food into alcohol, reported The Buffalo News recently. That process can cause breathalyzer readouts that would normally mean someone is dangerously intoxicated.

The woman was arrested last year after a 9-1-1 call that reported her weaving while driving. She reportedly was found driving on a flat tire with “glassy-bloodshot eyes and slurred speech.” Though she said she’d had three drinks, a breathalyzer registered her blood alcohol content at .33%

“Her tire was flat, and she felt she was close enough to home that she could drive the rest of the way,” the woman’s attorney told The News. “She can register a blood alcohol content that would have you or I falling down drunk, but she can function.”

She spent $7,000 working with a specialist to show how her body can make it seem like she’s the legal definition of drunk, without her guzzling even a drop herself.

“I would say it is not safe to drive a car if you are in an auto brewery syndrome flare,” a doctor and auto-brewery syndrome expert who monitored and tested the woman, told the News. “But it’s a brand new disease and we’re still trying to understand it.”

The doctor said he thinks between 50 and 100 people have been diagnosed with the disorder, though probably 95% of them have no idea. He advised the woman to change her eating habits, as flare-ups of ABS can be triggered in part by diets high in carbohydrates.

Woman’s body acts as ‘brewery,’ so judge dismisses DWI [The Buffalo News]