Ethan Couch, whom the media has dubbed the Affluenza Teen, is currently wanted in the Texas for allegedly violating his ten-year probation, stemming from a 2013 drunk driving crash that killed four people . The teen has been captured in Mexico along with his mother. According to authorities, Couch was able to avoid immediate extradition to the United States, but his mother has already arrived in Los Angeles in handcuffs.
Couch drew criticism from many people following a judge’s sentence of ten years probation following the 2013 crash, as many felt that the sentence was far too lenient . Many feel their criticisms were validated after video surfaced of the teen possibly playing beer pong and then fleeing the country. However, the question remains whether or not Couch may receive what some will likely perceive as a light punishment.
According to reports, the most severe sentence that Couch potentially faces is a total of 120 days in adult jail. The District Attorney’s Office handling the case stated that Couch was initially sentenced as a juvenile and violated his probation that was ordered by the juvenile court system, not the adult court system. This means that under Texas state law, the 18-year-old would only be punished for his probation violation under the juvenile system, in which a juvenile court judge could only issue imprisonment within a juvenile facility until Couch turns 19 years old.
While this is a punishment that certainly will not please many of those who feel that Couch deserves a harsher sentence, it is what the law currently allows.
If Couch does, in fact, end up getting placed on adult probation and violates it, he could face upwards of 40 years in jail. Furthermore, if he commits any new crimes, Couch could be behind bars for an even longer period of time, especially if he is convicted.
As for Couch’s mother, Tonya Couch, she has been charged with hindering the apprehension of a juvenile. As it stands right now, if she is convicted of this crime, she faces anywhere from two to ten years in jail.
Both Couch and his mother were turned over to authorities in Mexico upon their capture because it was impossible to determine at the time whether or not they were actually in the country legally. Both have since undergone routine medical checkups and have been allowed to speak with family in the United States. Both Couch and his mother are reported to have told Mexican officials that they entered the country through the crossing in Tijuana. It was later determined that they did not have the proper paperwork to visit Puerto Vallarta, where they were ultimately captured and detained.