News Guide: TX 'affluenza' teen heads to adult Ct

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 8:01 AM

Ethan Couch, who turned nineteen on Monday, will show up before a Fort Worth judge who could order more jail time as portion of the terms of Couch'south adult probation.

News Guide: TX 'affluenza' teen heads to adult Ct

A TX teenager who used an "affluenza" defense in a lethal drunken-driving wreck will show up Wednesday in adult Ct for the first time.

Ethan Couch, who turned nineteen on Monday, will show up before a Fort Worth judge who could order more jail time as portion of the terms of Couch'south adult probation. Prosecutors and Ct executive declined to confirm the nature of the hearing, saying the judge has issued a gag order.

Sofa got ten years' probation in juvenile Ct for a June two thousand thirteen wreck that left four deceased and two severely injured. He landed in jail after he fled with his mother, Tonya, to Mexico when a video surfaced online showing Sofa apparently at a party where alcohol was being served. Drinking alcohol is a violation of Couch'south probation. The two were apprehended in Mexico in December and brought back to TX in January.

Here'south a see at what could happen in Couch's case:

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ENTERING ADULT COURT

Sofa is scheduled to show up Wednesday before State District Judge Wayne Salvant in Fort Worth.

He was transferred out of the juvenile system and into an adult jail in February. Salvant could presently order him to spend up to one hundred twenty days in jail then finish the rest of his ten-year probation. If Sofa were to breach his probation during that time, he could obtain up to ten years in prison for each of the four people killed in the crash.

The jail time wouldn't be issued for any violation of his juvenile probation, including fleeing to Mexico, but would be set as a condition of his adult probation.

It'south not yet clear whether Salvant will create that decision Wednesday. An official in his chambers declined to comment, as did Tarrant County prosecutors.

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THE CRASH

Sofa lost control as he drove his family'south pickup truck after he and his friends had played beer pong and drank beer that some of them had stolen from a Wal-Mart. He veered into a crowd of people helping the driver of a disabled vehicle on the side of the road. Authorities later estimated that he was going seventy miles per hour in a forty mph zone.

The crash fatally injured the stranded motorist, a youth minister who stopped to assistance her and a mother and daughter who came out of their nearby home.

Sofa was found to have had a blood-alcohol level three times the valid limit for adult drivers.

State District Judge Jean Boyd gave Couch ten years' probation, a sentence that outraged victims' relatives and prosecutors who'd wanted prison time.

Further sparking outrage was the contention of a defense psychologist, Dr. Dick Miller, that Sofa had been coddled into a risky sense of irresponsibility by his wealthy parents. Miller used the duration "affluenza," which has stuck with the case ever since.

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MOTHER FACING CHARGES

When the December video of Sofa at a party surfaced online, authorities declare Couch'south mother, Tonya, arranged for the two of them to flee to Mexico.

They were found a few weeks later in the Mexican resort city of Puerto Vallarta. Ethan Sofa appeared to have grown a beard and dyed his hair black.

Tonya Sofa is charged with hindering the apprehension of a felon, with the opportunity of two to 10 years in prison if convicted. She's currently below house arrest.

Salvant is also the judge in her case.

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