Charged With DUI, Man Acquitted Thanks To Rare Medical Condition

Estimated read time 2 min read

Auto-brewery syndrome isn’t a faster way to brew your own beer at home but instead is a health condition which can cause innocent people to be accused of driving under the influence. That’s the situation a Belgian man found himself in, but his doctors were able to help him secure an acquittal.

Drunk Canadian crashes his C3 Corvette through some trees.

Before you get your hopes up, the condition is exceptionally rare. Doctors told the New York Post in its coverage that only 20 people in the entire world have been diagnosed with auto-brewery syndrome, although they believe there are more.

We know a lot of drunks are going to try using this as an excuse the next time they run afoul of the law, but remember any claims to medical conditions have to be proven. In this case, the Belgian man was tested by three different doctors, all of whom then supplied evidence to the court of the rare syndrome.

Back in April 2022 the guy was pulled over twice, both times blowing far more than the legal limit. He also got in trouble for supposedly driving under the influence back in 2019 with the government suspending his license for the offense.

According to a journal article published on the National Library of Medicine, auto-brewery syndrome is also called “gut fermentation syndrome” and often comes with symptoms one would confuse for someone who has been consuming alcohol.

Among them is slurred speech, staggering, confusion, and “gastrointestinal distress.” They can also apparently smell like alcohol, something we know cops often try to sense when speaking with someone they’ve pulled over.

And the person can be detected as drunk by a breathalyzer.

Healthline claims the condition can make someone “drunk without drinking any alcohol.” Our question is if that’s the case, is it safe for someone with this syndrome to be driving at all? After all, driving while intoxicated is incredibly dangerous.  

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Steven Symes

Steven Symes is an accomplished automotive journalist with a passion for all things related to cars. His extensive knowledge and love for the automotive world shine through in his writing, which covers a diverse range of topics.

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