Can you be legally drunk without taking a drink of alcohol?

On Behalf of | Oct 26, 2021 | DUI |

It seems like an impossible conundrum. You get pulled over by the cops on suspicion of drunk driving. You know that you haven’t had a drop of alcohol or other drugs, so you readily submit a breath sample when asked by the police officer. You are astonished when it shows you are legally drunk.

While one possible excuse is that the machine was recalibrated incorrectly, which led to your arrest, there is another, far rarer possibility: Auto-brewery syndrome.

What is auto-brewery syndrome?

When people eat, the food undergoes fermentation by the bacteria that normally reside in the colon. But this process can occur in the higher-up portions of the digestive system in the small intestine. Starchy foods like bread and pasta that contain yeast can thus get converted into ethanol, the substance that causes intoxication.

Adverse consequences for those with the syndrome

While the condition is indeed quite rare, it has caused people to be arrested on DUI charges in the past. In fact, the DUI arrest when the person knows that they drank zero alcohol is often what causes them to get diagnosed in the first place.

Could auto-brewery syndrome be the cause of your Florida DUI charge?

For most people, this will not be the case, because of the rarity of the syndrome. However, if you know that you consumed no alcoholic beverages and still showed a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over .08%, this is something you may want to address with your doctor or a GI specialist. 

Learning more about how the DUI laws in Florida work can also help you build a robust defense to the charges.