"Affluenza Teen" Receives Drug & Alcohol-Related Probation Conditions

By Victoria Kim 03/27/18

The infamous 20-year-old inmate is set to be released from jail in April.

Ethan Couch being escorted by officers
Photo via YouTube

Ethan Couch, who as a teen killed four people while driving drunk, is approaching the end of his jail term in Tarrant County, Texas. But Couch, now 20 years old, will have to abide by a few rules per the terms of his community supervision.

Upon his release on April 2, he will have to adhere to four conditions to stay out of any more trouble.

Couch must abstain from alcohol, which will be enforced by a SCRAM alcohol monitor. He will not be able to drive without a camera-equipped ignition interlock device, nor can he take any substances not prescribed by a medical professional. And finally, Couch will be confined to his home every evening from 9pm until 8am in the morning.

In the summer of 2013, Couch plowed into a group of pedestrians while partying with friends, killing four, including a mother and daughter, and injuring two. He had gotten behind the wheel of his father’s Ford pickup truck with a blood-alcohol level of 0.24—three times the legal limit.

Couch, who was 16 at the time, initially received 10 years’ probation instead of the 20-year prison sentence prescribed by Tarrant County prosecutors. The juvenile court judge also ordered Couch to enter a long-term treatment program while on probation.

Couch is known as the “affluenza teen” because of testimony given by a psychologist summoned by his attorneys that blamed his actions on “affluenza”—i.e., that he did not know better because of his privileged upbringing.

Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and 21-year-old daughter in the accident, was saddened by Couch’s meager punishment. “Words can’t describe how disappointed I am in terms of how the judicial system works,” he said at the time, according to the New York Times.

Many more people were outraged by the slap on the wrist.

As if that weren’t enough, Couch incited even more outrage when he was caught violating his probation when a video surfaced of “a person who appeared to be Couch” drinking at a party.

Then, after skipping out on a meeting with his probation officer, he and his mother fled to Mexico before getting caught in Puerto Vallarta in February 2016. The mother and son were arrested and brought back to the United States.

Couch was sentenced to two years in jail as a result—four consecutive 180-day sentences for each of his victims.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr