Texas teenager Ethan Couch, who famously used an “affluenza” defense following a fatal car wreck while driving drunk, was sentenced to nearly two years in jail on Wednesday.
A judge in Fort Worth, Texas, ruled that Couch – who was tried and convicted in the juvenile system – would not be released after his first appearance in adult court on morning.
"You are not getting out of jail today," state District Judge Wayne Salvant told Couch directly.
Initially Salvant said he would not immediately rule on how much longer Couch would spend in Tarrant County jail. But he reconsidered after hearing an argument from prosecutors that Couch should be sentenced not to a maximum of 120 days in jail but for 180 days for each of four counts of intoxication manslaughter under a separate part of Texas code.
The terms will be served consecutively, which would add up to 720 days – nearly two years. It was not clear if the time Couch has already spent in jail would be deducted from the total.
Salvant also set several conditions for Couch's probation after he leaves jail. Couch will not be allowed to drink, use drugs or drive, and he will be required to meet regularly with a community supervision officer.
Couch was in court after he allegedly violated the terms of his probation. Couch, who turned 19 on Monday, was given 10 years of probation for the June 2013 wreck that killed four people and left two severely injured. The sentence outraged the victims’ families as well as prosecutors.
The teenager and his mother, Tonya, fled to Mexico in December after a video surfaced online that appeared to show Couch at a party where alcohol was being served. Drinking alcohol would be a violation of his probation.
After spending weeks hiding out in Mexico, the Couches were apprehended in the resort city of Puerto Vallarta. Tonya was deported quickly and returned to Texas while her son initially fought deportation. He later dropped his objections and was deported in January.
Couch was 16 at the time of the crash near Fort Worth. During his trial, a defense expert invoked the term "affluenza" while arguing the teenager's wealthy parents had coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility.
He was driving with a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit when he rammed a pickup truck into a crowd of people trying to help a stranded motorist on the side of a road.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.