Eh, I don’t know what to say. Science isn’t clear on this, the only peer reviewed literature I’ve found suggests there have been some very rare cases where they’ve seen a person eating a carbohydrate rich diet who ends up with alcohol in their blood despite not having ingested alcohol, but the same study says that the severity of the effect doesn’t line up with BAC > than the legal limit.
There have been a few other cases around the world in which someone has claimed to have this auto-brewer syndrome.
The gut biome has been called one of the last great uncharted areas of the human body, and I don’t think there’s anyone reputable saying “this isn’t possible.” But there’s also not any real science confirming this happens.
I will say though, to support her claims they tested her during a period of time in which she consumed no alcohol and found she still had a high BAC. Regardless of the doctor’s quacky beliefs, how those beliefs might affect his PA or nurse, if they reported those BAC levels or the test procedures falsely to the court then they’ve committed a serious crime. So either that happened, or they legitimately tested her and found that for some reason she had a high BAC despite confirmed non-drinking. That’s at least reason enough in my book to shed doubt on how culpable she should be held for being over the per se limit.
If some of the reports of auto-brewer syndrome are accurate, then the person spends years intoxicated (unknowingly after a time, as they become adapted to high BAC), and they’d suffer severe health side effects from it and probably significantly reduced lifespan. If that’s the reality then I don’t find it unlikely that she’d be essentially “functional” at 0.36, that’s not saying she suffers no side effects of the high BAC, but people that are drunk all the time indeed have dramatically reduced impairment at given BAC levels than someone who isn’t a chronic abuser of alcohol.
Anyway, I’m not sure what to think of this case or auto-brewer syndrome in general, a disorder that I can only find scant information on in peer reviewed literature, the internet, and a poorly sourced Wikipedia page. But, I think that given what we know about the gut, and given that three medical professionals would’ve had to have committed perjury if they falsely reported this defendant had a high BAC despite a testing period in which she consumed no alcohol that it’s more of a “needs further study” than “I’ll assume it’s false” situation, from a skeptical standpoint.
They aren’t making claims that violate any known physical or biological science, for example.