If you think that all motorists who have traces of alcohol in their blood and who are charged with DWI consumed alcohol, then you would be wrong. Apparently, some people can have alcohol in their system, even without drinking a drop of alcohol.
In a scientific article, two physicians detected the smell of beer on three patients at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. The doctors reported that the hospital was in an isolated setting where alcoholic beverages were not accessible. The patients’ urine samples were taken and were sent for gas chromatography analysis. Interestingly, all three patients were found to have alcohol in their systems, two of whom were tested for actual BAC. One patient had a 0.043% BAC and the other had a 0.121% BAC, which was more than twice the 0.08% legal driving limit for DWI.
According to the physicians, it is not surprising to find the presence of alcohol in specimens that contain glucose and yeast. Traces of alcohol can be found in a person’s blood under normal circumstances, and the alcohol, through hepatic hydrogenase, is channeled into the body’s energy pathway.
When it comes to Auto Brewery Syndrome, most people who produce enough alcohol without drinking alcoholic beverages are found to be middle-aged patients. Those patients, who usually have abnormalities on their bowel activities after surgery, experience overgrowth of yeast in the gastrointestinal tract and also ferment ingested carbohydrates. As a result, their bodies may produce enough alcohol to be legally intoxicated even without drinking.
Alcohol concentration found in breath, blood or urine is crucial evidence used in prosecuting DWI offenders. Under certain circumstances, DWI lawyers have used Auto Brewery Syndrome to defend some motorists charged with driving while impaired. The reliability of forensic alcohol analysis results can be challenged by the defense in various ways. One DWI defense strategies is raising an argument that the body can naturally produce alcohol on its own, and that alcoholic beverages were not the cause of the defendant’s intoxication.
While Candida albicans and some other forms of yeast in the body can produce ethanol, it’s still a question of whether the ethanol production occurs to any measurable extent in some healthy ambulatory individuals. Over the years, there have been instances wherein the body’s production of alcohol, even without drinking, was determined. There were even cases when an abnormally high concentration of ethanol has been reported.
If you have been charged with DWI and are considering using Auto Brewery Syndrome as a DWI defense you should first consult with an experienced DWI lawyer as all the states have passed DWI per se laws that consider motorists as DWI offenders when caught driving with 0.08% BAC in their system, regardless of whether the alcohol is intentionally, negligently or naturally present in the system.