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Claiming gut fermentation syndrome as a DUI criminal defense

Can a person's blood alcohol level rise without consuming alcohol? Can a person be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol even if he or she has not had a drop of an impairing substance? Apparently the answer to both of these questions is yes. How is this possible? What criminal defense options are open to Missouri residents who find themselves in such situations?

Gut fermentation syndrome, also known as auto-brewery syndrome, is a medical condition that researchers are still trying to figure out. A person with this disorder produces far more yeast than the body needs. The excess is then fermented in the gut and turned ethanol. This in turn causes the blood alcohol level to rise on its own.

How common is gut fermentation syndrome? It is actually considered to be a rare medical condition. However, there are several cases on record of it occurring in people of all ages. There is even record of this disorder being used to successfully fight a drunk driving charge.

In order to use gut fermentation syndrome as a criminal defense in a DUI case, one will require assistance from medical professionals. Getting a medical diagnosis takes time as one will have to be carefully monitored for several hours by health care providers, and have blood drawn and tested. If medical proof is achieved, it is possible to have one's attorney present it before a Missouri criminal court as evidence in the effort to get one's case dismissed. While this may not work in every case, an accused individual who believes that a medical issue such as this contributed to his or her DUI charge can certainly discuss this defense option with his or her attorney.

Source:, "Auto-Brewery Syndrome", Chelsea Lacey-Mabe, Accessed on July 4, 2017

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