Tonya and Ethan Couch
Tonya and Ethan Couch
Jalisco Prosecutor's Office

Affluenza Mom Tonya Couch out of Jail on Bail

As of Thursday afternoon, Tonya Couch is a mostly free woman again after spending four months in Tarrant County jail. A Tarrant County judge revoked the affluenza mom's bail in June, after she tested positive for amphetamine or methamphetamine, according to the county.

Couch, the mother of Ethan Couch, is awaiting trial for charges related to her son's flight to Mexico in 2015. A Tarrant County judge sentenced Ethan Couch to 10 years probation for killing four people in a 2013 drunk driving incident. During his trial, Ethan Couch's defense famously claimed that the then 16-year-old suffered from "affluenza," a condition, commonly known as "being spoiled," brought on by his rich parents' failure to set boundaries for his behavior.

Tonya and Ethan Couch headed to Mexico after a video surfaced showing the younger Couch playing beer pong in late 2015, spurring fears that his probation would be revoked for drinking alcohol. Mother and son were eventually captured in Puerto Vallarta after police tracked a cellphone the two had used to order pizza from a local Domino's. After their return to Tarrant County, Ethan Couch received an almost two-year county jail sentence as a condition of transferring to the adult probation system. Prosecutors charged his mom with money laundering and helping her son flee the United States.

Ethan Couch left prison earlier this year after completing his jail sentence without incident. His mother has not been as successful at staying out of additional trouble.

In June 2017, she narrowly avoided having her bail revoked after witnesses saw her taking a sip of beer at a sports bar in Fort Worth and handling a firearm at a gun show. At the time, Tarrant County District Judge Wayne Salvant warned her that he wouldn't tolerate any further violations of bail conditions.

"The eyes of Texas are upon you," he said.

So far in 2018, Salvant has revoked Tonya Couch's bail twice for failed drug tests, first in March and then again in June. According to Tarrant County court records, he tightened Couch's bail conditions, which already require that she not use drugs or alcohol.

Under the conditions of her release Thursday, Couch can no longer take over-the-counter medications including "aspirin, cough syrup, vitamins or supplements." 

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