DUI case dismissed for medical condition causing woman to be four times the legal limit
A woman in New York was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) and weaving when she was pulled over and tested and found to have a 0.33% alcohol level. (The legal limit is at or above 0.08% in all 50 states). She had her DUI case dismissed for medical condition.
Our Orange County DUI Lawyers have learned that her DUI case was dismissed, however. Her DUI lawyer, Joseph Marusak, who practices law in Buffalo, New York, did the research work and found that the blood alcohol level did not match the drinking in the case.
As reported in The ABA Journal, the client, a 35-year-old school teacher from Hamburg, was pulled over by police in October 2014 after another driver called the police to report her car was weaving.
As the Buffalo News reported, Marusak discovered a rare intestinal disorder called Auto-Brewery Syndrome in which ordinary food is converted into alcohol because of yeast in the digestive system. Marusak sent his client to Dr. Anup Kanodia, who has treated people for the disorder. The client was observed by medical personnel for a 12-hour period when she wasn’t drinking, and her blood alcohol levels ranged from .279 to .40.
Auto-brewery syndrome, also known as gut fermentation syndrome, is a rare medical condition in which intoxicating quantities of ethanol are produced through endogenous fermentation within the digestive system. One gastrointestinal organism, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a type of yeast, has been identified as a pathogen for this condition.
The Buffalo News spoke with Kanodia, who said some people with Auto-Brewery Syndrome can tolerate high alcohol levels because their bodies are used to them. He acknowledged, however, that it would not be safe to drive during a flare-up.
In support of their motion, the defense submitted an affidavit from Anup K. Kanodia, M.D., from Columbus, Ohio, wherein, based upon specialized medical testing, he diagnosed the defendant with having ABS.
Kanodia said he is working with five other lawyers in the United States and Canada who are citing the syndrome as a defense in DUI cases.
The defense also submitted an affidavit from a WNY Pharmacologist which forensically established that the defendant’s BAC would only have registered between .01 and .05% from the four alcoholic beverages she had consumed earlier in the day. Under New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, an individual whose BAC is between .01 and .05% is presumed to be sober.
The defense further provided the Court with an analysis from the Erie County Medical Center’s Forensic Toxicology Lab regarding three blood samples taken from the defendant in a twelve hour period during which two Registered Nurses and a Physician’s Assistant continuously monitored the defendant to ensure she did not consume any alcoholic beverages. The three blood samples yielded BAC results which were double, triple and quadruple the legal limit (.08%).
DUI Defense lawyer Marusak presented the medical findings and sought a dismissal of the case. Town of Hamburg Justice Walter L. Rooth, II dismissed the charges of Driving While Intoxicated (New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192-3) and Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192-2-a).
Because this was an involuntary medical condition, as opposed to being caused by the voluntary excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, it could not be said that she voluntarily consumed alcohol. Auto Brewery Syndrome (ABS) is a medical condition wherein an excessive amount of yeast in an individual’s intestines ferments sugars from ingested foods and nonalcoholic beverages into alcohol.
Marusak’s client changed her diet after her diagnosis and hasn’t had another episode, it was reported by her DUI Defense Lawyer, Joseph J. Marusak, who was working Of Counsel to the law firm of Kloss, Stenger & LoTempio.
In its decision DUI case dismissed for medical condition, the Court identified the reasons for the dismissal by specifically referencing the contents of the defendant’s Motion to Dismiss papers, as well the mild symptoms of impairment allegedly observed by the arresting officer, as noted from the officer’s paperwork.
It is believed that the court’s ordering her DUI case dismissed for medical condition, based on the defendant’s medical evidence and testing, plus the evidence from the scientific community, is the first of its kind. It also underscores the importance of the gut biome and gut bacteria in affecting the entire body.
Contact us for questions regarding your DUI case. If you have a complex DUI case in Orange County, call our office. We know the right forensic alcohol DUI experts and have the science and legal background, to handle specialized cases such as this one.