The word "affluenza" may have seeped into popular vernacular following the DUI trial of Ethan Couch.
The 16-year-old Couch was accused of killing four pedestrians when he drove drunk in North Texas. Instead of being sent to jail for a significant period of time, he received ten years probation, reports the Los Angeles Times. A key in helping him stay out of jail was his defense attorney's argument that Couch suffered from affluenza.
This June, Couch was caught on surveillance camera with several of his friends stealing two cases of beer from a store. He then drove seven of his friends in his Ford F-350 truck with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit. As he sped, Couch lost control of the truck and struck and killed four pedestrians. Couch faced up to 20 years in state custody for the offense.
Couch pleaded guilty and his attorney argued that the teenager deserved rehabilitation and not jail time. The key argument being that Couch suffered from affluenza and needed to be cured from that affliction. For those unfamiliar with affluenza, it generally means someone who is so spoiled and from such wealth that the individual is unable to tell right from wrong. The defense attorney essentially blamed Couch's parents for the deaths saying that they taught Couch that wealth buys privilege and that there are no consequences for his actions.
For those accused of drunk driving in the Seattle and King County areas, you should be aware that judges typically have a lot of leeway in setting punishment. Even if you are found guilty of a crime, your DUI defense attorney can still argue why a more lenient sentence is appropriate. To learn more about defending your case, contact an attorney at Wolff Criminal Defense by calling 425-284-2000.