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Texas teen receives rehab instead of jail time for crash

Any individual who drinks and drives poses a serious danger to road users in Texas and throughout the United States. No matter who is driving, being intoxicated at the wheel is a reckless and negligent action that shows a complete indifference for the safety of other road users.

Officials in Texas have announced that the teen involved in a drunk driving accident which killed four people and injured two, will not face any more jail time. He will, instead, be sent to a rehab facility for an indeterminate amount of time. The judge stipulated that during his probation period he cannot consume alcohol or use drugs. He also is not allowed to drive.

The teenager was 16 at the time of the car accident. There was evidence of Valium in his system and his blood-alcohol level was triple the legal limit when his pickup truck struck a group of people assisting a woman whose car had broken down. When the teen lost control of the truck, there were seven occupants. One teen was paralyzed and the other teen experienced internal injuries and multiple broken bones.

During the teen’s trial, his attorney had said the he was spoiled and had no grasp of responsibility because of deficient parenting. An expert at his trial said his condition was known as "affluenza." His lawyers successfully contested that the teen required treatment and not jail time. According to reports, members of the victim’s families were galled that the teen was not given time in jail. Family members of the victims are bringing an action against the teen’s family in civil court.

As in this situation, in addition to the potential criminal charges, drunk drivers can also be held personally liable for the financial costs incurred by those hurt in the accident and to the families of the deceased. It is prudent that the families of the victims consult with an experienced attorney.

Source: nbcdfw.com, "Affluenza Teen Ethan Couch Sentenced to Undetermined Amount of Rehab" Chris Van Horne and Scott Gordon, Feb. 06, 2014

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