Is it Possible to be Drunk When You’re Sober? Apparently, For Some People it is… (Pt 1)

A picture of a copper brewing vessel in a brewery where beer and ale is made.
Auto-brewery syndrome is very rare, but for those who suffer from it, they can end up drunk when they haven’t had a drop to drink!

Usually, when someone gets pulled over for drunk driving and they swear they’re sober but their BAC reading comes back above above the legal limit, you can safely make a few assumptions. Either: one: they’re lying, or two: the preliminary breath test results (PBT) are wrong. Maybe the person is hoping their denial will work and the cop will let them go, or maybe the cop forgot to properly calibrate his preliminary breath test machine. 

Either of those are possibilities, but did you know there’s a third option? It’s actually possible for the person who was pulled over to be telling the truth, the PBT or DataMaster breath test machine to be functioning properly, AND for the driver to be drunk? Sounds ridiculous? That’s what everyone thought when a guy in Richmond, Virginia, got pulled over for drunk driving and denied having had even a single drink! Turns out he hadn’t had a drop to drink, but he wasn’t sober either!

Cops said the driver was waaaay above the legal limit!

A 46-year-old man from Richmond, Virginia was pulled over for operating while intoxicated (OWI). He denied having consumed any alcohol, but his BAC readings were twice the legal limit. Obviously, neither the cops nor his doctors believed him. Added to that, his family was already concerned about him. He had recently started exhibiting the symptoms of a closet drinker – memory loss, aggressive behaviors, depression. Everyone was certain he was a closet drinker.

But then……. his aunt remembered something she’d read about a condition that makes people drunk, even though they haven’t been drinking. Tests were done and it quickly became known – the man suffered from “auto-brewery syndrome“. In other words, fungi in his digestive tract were converting the carbohydrate-rich foods he’d eaten into alcohol!

Turns out, this guy’s case wasn’t an isolated one!

People who suffer from auto-brewery syndrome, also known as gut fermentation syndrome, have fermenting fungi or bacteria in their digestive tracts that produce ethanol. This ethanol (which is also called ethyl alcohol), is what causes them to appear drunk – because technically they are! Their own bodies are producing alcohol, which they are then digesting and it’s intoxicating them. So while they haven’t been drinking, they’re definately not sober!

The condition usually occurs in diabetic people, and people with obesity and Crohn’s disease. However that’s not always the case. It has been known to affect people who are otherwise completely healthy. Interestingly, it can be triggered by antibiotics, which change the levels and types of bacteria and fungi living in your digestive tract. Which is exactly what happened to the guy from Richmond. He was taking antibiotics for a thumb injury when his auto-brewery syndrome started.

Fighting allegations of drunk driving requires thinking outside the box.

As you can see, there is sometimes more to the story than meets the eye, especially when it comes to fighting allegations of intoxication for Michigan drivers. That’s why here at The Kronzek Firm, we make it a point to think outside the box when fighting drunk driving allegations. We know that there is possibly another side to the story, and that sometimes the obvious answer isn’t the right one. And every once in a while, when someone claims to be sober, they’re actually telling the truth!

Our skilled and experienced DUI defense attorneys have spent decades fighting for the rights of Michigan’s drivers. Wherever you live in Michigan, whether it’s Ingham, Clinton, Eaton, Livingston, or any other county in Michigan’s lower peninsula, being accused of drunk driving or drugged driving is serious! Between the financial costs, the effect on your reputation, and the time behind bars, the losses are staggering! So call 866 766 5245 today and make sure your rights are protected from the very start! We’ve been fighting drunk driving cases for more than a quarter of a century! Reach us 24 / 7 at 866 7NoJail.  

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I retained John English of The Kronzek Firm for my defense on a misdemeanor drug charge. Since I had no criminal history, I was eligible for section 7411 in Michigan. John handled my case and not only got me section 7411, but my probation was limited to 90 days with the stipulation that it would end as soon I passed a drug test. Since John had advised me to avoid all drugs including alcohol, I tested clean and was immediately released from probation. My probation lasted about 15 minutes. I was very pleased and would recommend this law firm as well as John English for your defense. Thanks John.
Glenn on Avvo, 2016

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