Ethan Couch, So-Called ‘Affluenza Teen,’ Arrested For Alleged Probation Violation

Couch allegedly tested positive for marijuana, which violated the terms of his parole.

Texas man Ethan Couch's mugshot
U.S. Marshals / Getty Images

Couch allegedly tested positive for marijuana, which violated the terms of his parole.

Ethan Couch, the Texas man who earned the nickname “Affluenza Teen” after a controversial sentence following his conviction in a deadly drunk-driving incident, has been arrested for violating the terms of his probation, ABC News reports.

As is the case with most, if not all, individuals on probation in the United States, Couch was required to stay clean from drugs and alcohol and was required to submit a urine sample to a probation officer at scheduled intervals in order to provide proof that he’d been staying clean. However, according to court documents, Couch’s sample tested positive for marijuana, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was captured and was taken to the Tarrant County Jail.

It is the latest in a series of run-ins with the law ever since Couch first came to national attention in 2013.

Couch, the son of a wealthy Texas businessman, allegedly killed four people and injured nine others while driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs on June 15, 2013, in Burleson, Texas. The casualties included his two passengers, including one who was paralyzed.

After his trial and conviction, Judge Jean Hudson Boyd sentenced Couch to 10 years probation, agreeing with Couch’s attorneys that the young man, whose wealthy parents indulged him and did not set any boundaries, was so bedeviled by “affluenza” that he believed he could do no wrong.

The sentence drew widespread condemnation for its lenience, and started a national conversation about the role wealth and privilege play in the legal system. A subsequent case — that of Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner — also made headlines for similar reasons. Turner, who was also seen as a man of wealth and privilege, was sentenced to six months in jail and three years’ probation for allegedly sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.

For Couch, however, it was only the beginning of his legal troubles.

In 2015, video and images of Couch playing a drinking game turned up on social media. As he was forbidden from using alcohol, this would have put him in violation of his probation. Facing 10 years in prison for parole violation, he and his mother, Tonya Couch, fled to Mexico and lived there as fugitives for a few weeks until their capture. His mother’s criminal case — for alleged money laundering and aiding and abetting a fugitive — is still pending as of this writing.

In April 2016, he was sentenced to two years in prison and was released in April 2018. Conditions of his release included being required to wear an ankle monitor and an alcohol detection patch, submitting to drug testing, and conforming to a 9 p.m. curfew, according to a CNN report from the time.