One essential tenet of the United States criminal justice system is that people arrested for any time of crime are to be treated as though they are innocent until or unless they are proven to be guilty. This core belief extends to people arrested for and charged with drunk driving offenses. Even in cases where a person provides a breath sample that exceeds the legal limit, there may be extenuating factors that shed new light on the case. One of these is a rare medical condition called auto brewery syndrome.

According to Healthline, auto brewery syndrome finds a person’s body converting simple carbohydrates or complex carbohydrates into alcohol. A person with this condition, therefore, can exhibit symptoms of intoxication after easing sweet or highly starchy foods. The condition develops when a person’s normal intestinal system state is altered due to the presence of yeast, which is a fungus.

Auto brewery syndrome may develop as a secondary condition in people with other medical issues such as Crohn’s disease or diabetes as these conditions do cause changes in the gastrointestinal system. Nutritional deficiencies or the use of antibiotics may also contribute to this.

It was actually a course of antibiotics that set off a bout of auto brewery syndrome for one man who ended up fighting for many years to get people to believe that he had not been drinking. The Washington Post reported that it took persistent effort on his part and the part of one of his relatives to be diagnosed. His treatment required a significant change in his dietary habits.