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A Belgian man gets arrested for drunk driving, but ends up acquitted because his body makes its own booze... stop us if you've heard this one before.

As Reuters reports, the Belgian in question was acquitted after three separate doctors confirmed that he does, in fact, have auto-brewery syndrome (ABS), a rare condition in which one's body produces alcohol.

Also known as "gut fermentation syndrome," this disorder causes the stomach's natural yeast to produce ethanol — yes, as in the booze ingredient slash alternative fuel, though in that latter form it's generally also mixed with gasoline. It can cause them to develop some of the symptoms of drunkenness, including slurred speech and difficulty walking.

The debacle began in April 2022, when, as France24 reports, the man was pulled over twice and, when subjected to breathalyzer exams, was determined to have a blood alcohol level far exceeding the country's 0.22 grams per liter. He had also, as the report notes, been arrested and fined in 2019 for drunk driving despite insisting that he hadn't had anything to drink.

Vanishingly rare, there have been fewer than 100 cases reported globally, though experts believe it's likely underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed as common drunkenness. The Bruges man in question, whose name has been withheld per local custom, is apparently one of those unlucky few.

Lisa Florin, a clinical biologist who works at the AZ Sint-Lucas in Bruges, told Reuters that people aren't born with ABS, but that they develop it as a comorbidity with other intestinal conditions. In a 2023 book about the syndrome, doctors explained that along with gut problems, ABS seems to often occur with people who've been previously diagnosed with diabetes and obesity.

In her own interview with Reuters, the man's attorney, Anse Ghesquiere, said that it's just "another unfortunate coincidence" that he also happens to work at a brewery. The French news outlet, meanwhile, said that the judge in his case requested that he avoid alcohol.

More on drunk driving: Billionaire Who Died in Tesla Had Three Times Legal Blood Alcohol to Drive

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