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Auto-brewery syndrome can trigger a DUI arrest

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2021 | Criminal Defense

When an Alaska police officer makes a traffic stop, it is often because he or she suspects a driver of intoxication. Any number of issues may be considered a legitimate reason for making a suspected DUI stop, such as if the officer in question witnesses a vehicle veering over the yellow line. It is possible, however, that a person who has consumed no alcohol at all may still wind up getting arrested for suspected DUI, especially if he or she has auto-brewery syndrome and takes a preliminary alcohol screening breath test.

What is auto-brewery syndrome?

Auto-brewery syndrome is a health condition that can affect both children and adults. It occurs when the body’s intestinal fungi or bacteria ferments, which produces ethanol. This condition is most prevalent in people who are obese or who have diabetes or Crohn’s disease.

Symptoms that can cause problems during a traffic stop

A person who has this condition might exhibit symptoms that mimic alcohol intoxication. Such symptoms often include loss of coordination, which could lead a police officer administering a field sobriety test to believe a driver is intoxicated. Additional symptoms might include dizziness, belching, severe headache or mood swings. Auto-brewery syndrome can also trigger a false positive result on a preliminary alcohol screening breath test due to excessive yeast fermentation in a person’s body.

A DUI conviction may carry severe penalties in Alaska

If a police officer informs a driver that he or she has failed a field sobriety test or has registered positive for alcohol on a breath test, the next thing that happens might be an arrest. It can be frustrating for a person who knows that he or she has not consumed alcohol to be arrested on suspicion of DUI. Anyone in Alaska who is currently facing such problems may speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to explain that he or she has a health condition that may have caused symptoms that mimic intoxication during a traffic stop.