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UPDATED: ‘Affluenza’ Teen Ethan Couch Will Go to Adult Court


ethan couch in courtEthan Couch, the so-called ‘affluenza’ teen, is expected to appear in court on Friday where a judge will decide whether or not he will be transferred to adult court.

Couch was sentenced to 10 years probation as a juvenile after driving drunk and killing for people. He received his nickname after his lawyer’s invoked the ‘affluenza’ defense after they argued he needed rehabilitation instead of prison time. Couch, and his mother, Tonya Couch, escaped to Mexico in December after the teen didn’t check in with his probation officer. Both were caught in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

If the case moves to adult court, Couch will be assigned a new judge who will set new terms and conditions for his adult probation, according to The Dallas Morning News. There are two possible outcomes of the hearing. If the judge decides to keep Couch in the juvenile system, he could be released when he ages out at 19 years old. Or if moved to adult court, a judge could eventually order him to spend 120 days in jail as part of an adult sentence plus probation. However, this time, if Couch violates his probation under the adult system, he could face up to 40 years in prison.

[h/t Dallas Morning News, Screengrab via WFAA]

Update — Feb. 19, 11:08 a.m. ET: The judge has decided that Couch will be transferred to adult court.

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Rachel Stockman is Editor in Chief of Law&Crime and The Law&Crime Network. She is a former local news reporter, and was named Atlanta Press Club's 'Rising Star' in 2014. Rachel graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and Yale Law School.