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Could a medical condition cause you to get a DUI?

 Posted on January 03, 2023 in DUI Law


A drunk driving charge in Illinois can come with a range of penalties that may impact the rest of your life. If convicted of this offense, you could find yourself behind bars, paying expensive fines and dealing with the effects of a mark on your criminal record. It is important to take a DUI seriously, even if it is your first offense. It may come as a surprise to you to learn that you could face these types of criminal charges even if you have not consumed any alcohol.

A specific medical condition called auto-brewery syndrome could cause the body to naturally produce alcohol. This means that you could have an elevated blood alcohol content level and demonstrate signs of possible intoxication without even one sip of an alcoholic beverage. There have been cases in which drivers have received DUIs, only to learn later that they suffered from this type of medical condition.

What is gut fermentation syndrome?

Auto-brewery syndrome, also called gut fermentation syndrome, is a rare condition. It develops when there is an overgrowth of certain types of fungi in a person's gut, causing the body to convert carbohydrates into alcohol. There can be a connection between this and other types of underlying medical conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, diabetes and more. Symptoms of this illness are similar to signs of intoxication, including:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Belching
  • Difficulty with coordination
  • Slurred speech and delirium
  • Headaches

It can be difficult to accurately diagnose this type of illness, and doctors may perform tests to first rule out other underlying conditions. Dietary changes and medication may help control the symptoms of auto-brewery syndrome.

The impact of this illness

There have been cases of individuals receiving DUI charges when they had not consumed any alcohol. There are times when extenuating circumstances negatively impacted a person's criminal case, but defendants have the right to fight charges that they believe are invalid or based on inaccurate information. If you have auto-brewery syndrome, you may have grounds to fight any drunk driving charges you are facing.

An assessment of your DUI case may help you understand the legal options available to you. If there are grounds to fight the prosecution's case, your quick action could help you seek a successful conclusion, which may include a dismissal of all charges you are currently facing.

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