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Teen Responsible for Fatal Crash Receives No Jail Time

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    “Her knowledge and professionalism are what helped me get through a difficult time.”
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  • If you need a lawyer,
    she is the one you want.

    “Her knowledge and professionalism are what helped me get through a difficult time.”
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Judge Claims "Affluenza" Defense Did Not Affect Her Decision

Affluenza is a term coined to describe a condition caused by the pursuit of materialism. Many have called this the "Keeping Up with the Joneses" condition. 17-year-old Ethan Couch's very public trial brought affluenza to the public eye after driving drunk and killing four people. Rather than jail time, Couch received 10 years' probation, sparking outrage from the victims' families.

Throughout the teen's trial last year, his defense attorneys claimed that Couch's upbringing led to his decision to drive while drunk. Because his parents were wealthy and because Couch was used to getting what he wanted, his attorneys claimed, he developed an impaired sense of judgment.

At the time of his arrest, the teen's blood alcohol concentration was more than three times the legal limit in Texas. He was also traveling 30mph over the speed limit. This was not Couch's first encounter with the law. Earlier that same year, the teen pled "no contest" to both minor in possession of alcohol and consuming alcohol as a minor.

Couch's attorneys called Psychologist G. Dick Miller to testify. Miller provided evidence indicating that because his parents gave him so many freedoms growing up, Couch was essentially missing the natural link in his reasoning between behavior and consequences. While Miller did initially use the word "affluenza" to describe his condition, Miller later regretted it because he believed it downplayed the real medical problems plaguing Couch.

Although the judge chose probation in lieu of jail time for Couch's sentence, she said that her decision was not influenced by the affluenza defense. Instead, Judge Jean Boyd emphasized her belief that alcohol rehabilitation was a more appropriate and likely a more effective penalty than incarceration would have been.

Couch could potentially end up serving a jail sentence, but only if he violates his probation. The terms of which include:

  • Refraining from drugs and alcohol
  • Refraining from operating a motor vehicle
  • Attending rehabilitation for an undisclosed period of time

There is the possibility that Couch's sentence will be appealed.

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    MISDEMEANOR SETTLEMENT

    MISDEMEANOR SETTLEMENT

    2ND DUI

    Misdemeanor on completion of community service - Felony 2nd DUI, under 21 with injury.

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    case dismissed

    CASE REJECTED

    ATTEMPTED MURDER OF POLICE OFFICER

    Los Angeles Arrest Pre-filing representation on Attempted murder of police officer, assault with a deadly weapon upon a police officer.

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    CASE
    REJECTED

    CASE REJECTED

    ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON

    Strike felonies including assault with a deadly weapon - car with great bodily injury.

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    case dismissed

    Case dismissed

    CAR ACCIDENT

    Car accident, no license, speeding (filed by Anaheim City Attorney).

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    case dismissed

    Case dismissed

    CHILD ENDANGERMENT / CRUELTY

    Penal Code 273a(b) Child endangerment/cruelty.

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    case dismissed

    Case dismissed

    CHILD MOLESTATION

    Child molestation: Felony.

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    PROBATION TERMINATED EARLY

    PROBATION TERMINATED EARLY

    COMMERCIAL BURGLARY

    Commercial burglary probation violation: dismissed, no violation found.

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    case dismissed

    Case dismissed

    CONTEMPT OF COURT ORDER

    Contempt of court order by a gang member.

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    Case dismissed

    Case dismissed

    CSA CASE

    CSA case dismissed.

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