New York Judge Throws Out DWI Charges After Determining Teacher Suffers From “Auto-Brewery Syndrome”

imagesThere is a fascinating DWI case out of New York involving a case of a 35-year-old school teacher who was arrested after driving with a flat tire and a blood alcohol content of .33 g/dL. Judge Walter L. Rooth dismissed misdemeanor charges of DWI and aggravated DWI after agreeing with the defense that the woman has the rare condition known as auto-brewery syndrome, where her body turns ordinary food and beverages into alcohol in a person’s body like a brewery.

This is not some new “Twinkie defense” or cunning defense tactic. This syndrome has been well documented and addressed in other cases and in other countries.

The rare intestinal disorder is caused by a saturation of yeast in the system of some people (which is why it is also called “gut fermentation syndrome”). Notably, the woman admitted to having three drinks that day with her parents in Buffalo but that would not have been enough to register such a high BAC. The police insist that she appeared incredibly intoxicated and registered the level on a Breathalyzer. Indeed, witnesses called police because of a car “weaving all over” the road. She could not recite the alphabet or perform other sobriety tests. The police officer said that he could smell the burning rubber from the tires. The prosecutors are appealing the ruling.

Notably, it was her defense attorney who sent her for tests because the confirmed drinks would not have yielded this BAC. It reportedly required 40 hours of work and about $7,000 on medical evidence to prove the condition.

Even if this condition is accepted, however, there remains the question of whether such people should be given licenses if they cannot detect a “flare” of the syndrome. After all, if she is still functioning as if drunk, she is still driving under the influence of alcohol. Her voluntary act may not have been consuming the requisite amount of alcohol but driving in such a condition. Clearly, a person may not intend to do so if such “flares” occur without warning. Moreover, if she was not previously diagnosed, she would have had no reason to know. In such a case, I am okay with the ruling but there must still be a determination on her ability to drive. It may be a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that the charges were dropped. The bad news is that the defense itself may mean that she cannot drive absent some medical corrective intervention.

What do you think?

Source: Buffalo News

75 thoughts on “New York Judge Throws Out DWI Charges After Determining Teacher Suffers From “Auto-Brewery Syndrome””

  1. Her tolerance must be pretty high. Must have driven around lots 3 times the limit. They should go back to every camera light she drove past ….and assume she was over .o8. They could take her for everything she owns. Obviosly if its a condition then its always manifest. If cops can cite ppl off private video then they can certainly cite her from all road video….because per se she doesn’t operate below…..o8. Awhhh that’s arbitrary!

  2. Nick

    I took your advice. Truly frightening what actually gets past the bar examiners. Scathing reviews from those in the know. Perhaps he was sprayed with toxic chemicals in the military. Long lasting effects.

  3. Hildegard, Many women, w/o this alleged condition, are drunk on 3 drinks. And, any cop will tell you 3 drinks really means 6 drinks.

  4. bam, If you click onto the ham n’ egger barristers blog, which he is obviously trying to get people to read, his condescending comments will make sense. Check out his Twitter as well. Hilarious!

  5. And further more!! The woman had three (count ’em) three drinks! She had to know that wasn’t a good idea judging on PAST experience. Nothing like adding gasoline to a fire! The woman is a puerile idiot. End of story. Throw the book at her!

  6. “It reportedly required 40 hours of work and about $7,000 on medical evidence to prove the condition.”

    This is wild. My daughter had a SEVERE case of this. I was working as an office manager of an M.D. at the time it was re-diagnosed. She had it as a toddler and we didn’t realize it had come back with a vengeance. After camping in Mexico with her class she came back with parasites so we sent off a stool sample. Total cost? Around $100. When the test came back the parasite had been identified and her yeast overgrowth was classified as ‘4″ (the most severe) and “dividing” making it even more so. He wrote up a letter for her school to explain her difficulty in concentrating and excusing her for many absences. I have no idea what kind of tests this woman had but then you know how courts are. They want their money and if she got off I imagine they don’t get paid as much.

    By the way, parasites and Candida go hand in hand and when parasites die or excrete you’re getting ammonia which goes straight to the brain and makes it hard to think, reason, make decisions, etc. If this woman can get off because of some impairment from the candida it will open the door to a real mess. We can virtually all claim to be less than optimal for 100s of reasons, any of which could make it more difficult to ‘operate heavy machinery’. The moral of the story? Fix your damn health problems and if your M.D. offers you nothing look somewhere else. Don’t play the victim!!!

  7. Lol! po has a brother named JMRJ. Please, tell us again how she didn’t voluntarily partake of liquor and drive, Einstein. Hysterical.

  8. JMRJ


    A direct quote from JT’s article. If you have any discrepancies regarding the facts, I suggest that you take them up with him. The above-mentioned article says what it says. You are also not sharp enough to pick up on the part where the individual claimed to have had three drinks–countering some asinine gibberish and diatribe about her not having VOLUNTARILY committed any wrong doing in this situation. What part of having ingested that liquor contributed to her condition? Who knows? She’s lucky to have come through this thing unscathed–both physically and criminally. Her admission regarding her VOLUNTARY consumption of alcohol should not be ignored. Yeah. Facts are a b@tch. Learn to read.

  9. Unless there is some way of proving she knew about this in advance, it seems to me she gets a one off. From here on out it’s up to her to manage her condition, let her friends know she has it so they can watch out for her (the way diabetics I know ask their friends to be on the lookout for symptomatic behaviors), and obviously not put herself into situations that will make it worse or put anyone else at risk.

  10. This woman can be EASILY CURED and if she doesn’t want to use natural methods she can take anti-fungal drugs. Both methods WORK. Thinking she needs to wear a medical bracelet is absurd. Or that her car needs a breathalyzer or automatic shutoff. She simply needs to take personal responsibility for her health and actions and the fact that she hasn’t done so up to this point is no excuse to let her entirely off the hook. I had this affliction kids, so I know from whence I speak! Okay I’ll stop now…for awhile.

  11. On the high side, maybe if her case gets enough press, our glorified doctors will wake up and test people for this when they walk in with a laundry list of symptoms including of course, gut issues. Alternative medicine has been ON this subject for at least 35 years and curing it left and right. Allopathic medicine, like dinosaur media is way behind as usual.

  12. Nick “Affluenza”? Oh my Jesus! No one needs to take responsibility for their actions anymore. We’re becoming a society of glorified victims. In other words; devolving.

  13. bam bam ”
    Why is everything relegated to the proletariat struggle? Sometimes, that Marxist beret, may just be a tad too tight as you wait for the inevitable revolution led by Bernie…”

    Well put. Especially the ‘tight’ part. 😉 If you vote for Bernie chances are pretty good you’ll be lining up for your State mandated vaccines and anything else the Socialists think is ‘best for everyone’. He’s also a total war monger which is little known by his supporters. Not that they’d care, as long as he was murdering the 1%.

  14. You guys need to read my comments. I HAD this so-called RARE disease. Rare it is NOT. This lady is a sheister.

  15. On topic, it looks like this condition is caused by an infection in the intestine, and the (fungal) infection is treatable/curable. If she undergoes treatment, it seems like she’s used her get-out-of-jail-free card.

  16. Olly,
    I can’t identify them because they don’t exist.

    Ben Carson was apparently a decent surgeon. I’ve read that he was sued and settled numerous times, but I guess that is par for the course. Either way he did well for himself and took advantage of opportunities presented to him. But self-reliant? No. His mother was on welfare. He got financial aid and affirmative action-ed into med school. Granted he did well with what he was given, but let’s not pretend he did anything all by himself. He did not, and no one does.

    The amount of money we give away for corporations far exceeds whatever we give to hungry children.

    Your self-reliance is a big misdirect. There might be a very small handful of people in America actually only doing for themselves and not relying on others, but I doubt even that. Everyone relies on other people and for the services we provide as a society. Conservatives just think that businesses and rich people who leech off society are “clever” while poor people who work the system are lazy. It’s all the same game.

  17. phillyT,
    What good would providing you examples be if you couldn’t identify them yourself? My sister is a die-hard socialist (her words) and she is as self-reliant as they come. She and I are on the opposite ends of the political spectrum but individually we both are self-reliant. Ben Carson is a great example. You don’t have to like his politics to respect him as a person.

    In the early days of this republic self-reliance was the norm. People can be politically liberal or conservative but personally self-reliant. Then along comes the progressive era with a philosophy of having a government empowered to do for all and driving out the desire for self-reliance. So now our culture is largely divided into two camps; Republicans and Democrats dependent on big government (progressives) and Republicans, Democrats and Independents self-reliant and wanting government to be limited by the rule of law. This is our “house divided” moment; we cannot be both AND stand.

  18. This 35 year old woman–a teacher–is poor and working for minimum wage? That’s who conservatives target for demands of personal accountability? The poor and the disenfranchised? Give me an f’ing break. Those who are demanding personal responsibility from her are doing so regardless of her job or income. They’re doing so because there is a public safety issue involved. Why is everything relegated to the proletariat struggle? Sometimes, that Marxist beret, may just be a tad too tight as you wait for the inevitable revolution led by Bernie. Revolution on the brain. The mere fact that this individual could afford to spend $7,000 on tests to prove that this was, in fact, a true medical condition, flies in the face of painting her as some sort of poor waif. Unless, of course, her insurance picked up the tab for those thousands of dollars of tests, this woman comes from a background of means. What do you want to bet that her attorneys hail from a silk-stocking firm? Targeted because she’s poor, my ass.

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