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DUI arrest and false positive BAC results due to gut fermentation

On Behalf of | Dec 30, 2019 | Dwi |

When issued with a North Carolina driver’s license, a motorist agrees to submit to a roadside breathalyzer test when requested even if he or she has not consumed any alcoholic beverages. A law enforcement official, however, must have reasonable suspicion of a driver’s impairment to administer a breathalyzer. As reported by the UNC School of Government, an officer smelling alcohol or observing visible signs of impairment may suffice as probable cause, in which case an arrest may occur if the driver refuses to blow into a breathalyzer. 

While in the custody of law enforcement officials, a motorist generally must submit to a blood, breath or urine sample. Based on the lab test results, an individual may face a DUI charge, which is legally contestable. Testing equipment sometimes provides false positives and an accused individual has the right to defend against the allegations of driving while intoxicated. 

After a Tar Heel State resident refused to submit to a roadside breathalyzer test, an officer arrested him and brought him to a hospital for testing. Once there, test results indicated that he had a blood alcohol content level of 0.2%, which is equivalent to drinking approximately 10 beverages in one hour. Neither law enforcement officials nor physicians believed that he did not consume any alcohol. 

Researchers, however, proved that the man suffered from a rare medical condition known as gut fermentation syndrome, as reported by the CBS 17 news team. The condition caused the yeast in his gastrointestinal tract to convert certain types of carbohydrates into alcohol. While he may not have consumed intoxicating beverages, the alcohol his body produced resulted in the same effects that provide law enforcement officials with probable cause to request a breathalyzer test.