December
31
2015

Questioning the Affluenza Teen’s Flight

Now that Ethan Couch has been arrested in Mexico for violating his probation, it would appear that he would be facing a difficult situation when he is brought before the juvenile court to determine his sentencing. Ethan Couch first made national news in late 2013 when his criminal defense team created the “affluenza” defense that resulted in a sentence of probation for killing four people in a drunk-driving crash.

Video Evidence?

Initially, the media and the public were outraged when a video was released that appeared to show Ethan Couch at a party playing beer pong. Many people immediately assumed that this “evidence” of a video would guarantee that Mr. Couch would be sentenced to prison. However, this would never have happened.

Juvenile Court

What the media did not understand is that this case was resolved as a juvenile case, which greatly limits the punishment that can be handed down to Ethan Couch. In fact, Tarrant County authorities had been trying to have Ethan Couch’s case transferred from juvenile court to the adult system specifically because the penalties and restrictions would be harsher. However, because Mr. Couch remained on juvenile probation, he would have never been in any serious trouble as a result of the beer pong incident. In fact, it is likely the probation department would have progressively sanctioned him and he would have remained on probation.

What He Should Have Done

If Mr. Couch had been smart, he would have contacted an attorney and he would have learned that the worst punishment he would be facing is four months in jail. Even as it stands now, Mr. Couch will not be looking at prison.