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Some say Utah's new DUI law could lead to arrests of nondrinkers

After eating high-carb meals or taking certain antibiotics, some people complain of a condition that causes dizziness, nausea and a brain fog similar to intoxication or a hangover. Some victims of this condition even claim the malady results in a measurable alcohol level in their blood even when they have consumed no alcohol. While extremely rare, people who believe they suffer from what is known as auto-brewery syndrome may be concerned about how the impending change in Utah's DUI law will affect them.

Auto-brewery syndrome has been used at least once in another state as a defense against a DUI charge. Those with the condition may have a chronically elevated blood alcohol count because certain yeasts and sugars combine in their stomachs to create a fermentation similar to that of alcohol. Drivers may exhibit symptoms of intoxication and even fail BAC tests. With Utah set to drop its BAC limit from .08 to .05 – the lowest BAC limit in the country – those with this condition may fear being wrongly arrested for DUI.

While at least one judge accepted auto-brewery syndrome as a defense for a drunk driving charge, some medical researchers say they can find no scientific data to support the existence of the rare disorder. In fact, the researchers believe anyone suffering from such symptoms would likely be unable to drive. Nevertheless, a .05 BAC does not allow much room for error. Critics of the change say that even one drink may result in a DUI arrest for certain people.

Additionally, even without the consideration of a rare and questionable auto-brewery condition, there are often factors that can skew a BAC test. After the BAC level drops in December, Utah drivers will have even more reason to know and understand the variables that can result in a false BAC reading. Seeking assistance from an attorney is advantageous to anyone facing DUI charges.

Source: deseretnews.com, "Will 'auto-brewery syndrome' get you arrested for DUI in Utah?", Jennifer Graham, August 4, 2017

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