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'Affluenza' defense results in 10 years probation for teen

Upon becoming a parent, most individuals suddenly find that they would do anything to protect their child. While that sentiment changes a bit as the child grows older, in a majority of cases parents continue to look out for their child until they reach adulthood. As parents of teenagers are probably aware, for a variety of reasons, the teen years can be some of the most trying.

The parents of a 16-year-old Texas boy know this first hand. The teen was recently sentenced for his role in the death of four individuals. The four people who died were at the site of a disabled vehicle. As they attempted to help at the scene, a vehicle driven by the teen struck and killed them. In addition, two other individuals who were in the back of the pickup truck driven by the teen were seriously injured. Blood tests indicated that the teen driver was drunk.

The case against the teen was resolved in juvenile court. In addition to being sentenced to 10 years of probation, he is not allowed to return home. Instead, he will live in a long-term treatment facility. The consequences could be much worse if he violates probation. He could spend up to 10 years in a prison.

The teen’s attorney used an interesting defense. He argued that the boy’s behavior was due in large part to the way in which his parents raised him. Because they never set boundaries for him, the lawyer asserted they should share a portion of the blame. A psychologist who testified described the situation as the teen being a product of “affluenza.”

The outcome of this case could have been much worse for the teen. While if he wants to avoid being locked up the teen will not live the footloose lifestyle he once did, compared to the consequences he could have faced, he is likely content with the outcome.

Source: CNN, “Texas teen Ethan Couch gets 10 years' probation for driving drunk, killing 4,” Dana Ford, Dec. 11, 2013

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