Those who violate the law may face serious long-term consequences if convicted, even if they do not receive an initial jail sentence. For those convicted of drunk driving, strict probation terms are among these consequences. A Texas teen who made headlines by receiving only probation after killing four people in a drunk driving accident was just released from a two-year term for violating that probation.
The teen made headlines for his unusual defense, dubbed “affluenza.” In his drunk driving case, defense attorneys brought in a psychologist as an expert witness. The psychologist testified that he suffered from a lack of education and limits from a privileged upbringing.
As a result of the defense, the teen received 10 years of probation instead of the 20 years in jail sought by prosecutors. This probation restricted him from drinking or doing drugs. It also enforced a 9 p.m. curfew and required him to use an ankle-monitoring device. Despite the sentencing, the teen wound up behind bars two years later after fleeing to Mexico with his mother. Once found and returned home, he and his mother were both sentenced by a Texas judge.
Anti-drunk driving advocates say that the “affluenza” case may serve as an example for how impaired driving crimes are handled differently than other crimes leading to injury or death. Certainly, the case shows that distinct legal considerations, arguments and defenses are often used in these types of cases. Finding a Texas criminal defense attorney is an important first step for those facing charges related to drunk driving or probation violation.
Source: CNN, “Ethan Couch of ‘affluenza’ case released from jail“, Madison Park, April 2, 2018