Over the past few years, there have been several cases of auto-brewery syndrome that have drawn a lot of attention from news media outlets, including the notorious story of a truck driver that spilled thousands of pounds of salmon on an Oregon highway after getting in an accident. When questioned by police, he claimed that he suffered from the auto-brewery syndrome. Our Bradenton, FL DUI attorneys explain how this and other medical conditions may trigger an incorrect BAC reading, and what you can do if you are innocent and have been charged with a DUI.
How Does the BAC Measurement Work and How Is It Used to Determine If Someone Is Driving Under the Influence?
BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) is the measurement of how much alcohol is in someone’s bloodstream after they have been drinking. The BAC is measured by calculating how many milligrams (mg) of alcohol are present per 100 milliliters (ml) of blood. For example, if your BAC is 0.10%, it means your blood supply has one part alcohol for every 1000 parts of blood.
According to Florida Motor Vehicle Laws, a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher is considered impaired. If anyone with a BAC over 0.08% is found to be in actual physical control of a vehicle within the state, this person can be guilty of the offense of driving under the influence. The police may use breath, blood, or urine tests to measure a driver’s BAC, being that the breathalyzer test is the least reliable method for measuring BAC and can result in incorrect readings in certain situations.
What Is the Auto-Brewery Syndrome and How Can It Be Used as a DUI Defense?
Auto-brewery syndrome is also known as gut fermentation syndrome. It happens when carbohydrates (sugar and starchy foods) are transformed into ethanol by an excess of yeast in the intestines. Individuals affected may have a high blood alcohol content and act as if they have been intoxicated without ever ingesting any alcoholic drinks.
If someone suffering from this syndrome is subjected to a breathalyzer test, they will likely fail the test and be charged with a DUI. However, the individual can present medical evidence to support their claim that they did not intentionally ingest alcohol and that their BAC is caused by the auto-brewery syndrome. This defense strategy may not work if the person was aware of having this condition and chose to drive anyway.
What Are Other Situations That May Trigger an Incorrect Breathalyzer Reading?
It is a well-known fact that the breathalyzer is the least reliable method for testing BAC when compared to blood or urine exams. These devices cannot make the distinction between alcohol and acetone, for example. Many people who are diabetic have high levels of acetone in their breath and might fail the breathalyzer test.
The same can happen if someone simply breathes in gas or paint fumes. Many environmental and medical issues may trigger an incorrect breathalyzer reading, and questioning the results of a breath test is one of the first things an attorney may do to disprove a DUI charge.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Wrongfully Charged With a DUI in Florida?
If you have been charged with a DUI and believe you are innocent, your priority should be to contact an attorney that has experience fighting DUI cases and can help you prove your innocence. The attorneys at Carson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett have handled a variety of DUI cases in Bradenton, FL, and surrounding areas. Contact us for a no-cost case analysis to see how we can help.