'Affluenza' Teen's Mom, Tonya Couch, Charged With 'Hindering an Apprehension' | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

'Affluenza' Teen's Mom, Tonya Couch, Charged With 'Hindering an Apprehension'

If convicted, the mother of "affluenza" teen Ethan Couch faces two to 10 years behind bars.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The mother of a fugitive North Texas teen known for using an "affluenza" defense in a fatal drunken-driving accident will likely remain jailed for several days in Los Angeles after being deported from Mexico, investigators said Thursday. (Published Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015)

    The mother of fugitive "affluenza teen" Ethan Couch was charged with a felony overnight Wednesday for allegedly helping her son flee the country to Mexico, violating the terms of his probation stemming from a deadly 2013 drunken-driving wreck.

    The Tarrant County district attorney's office confirmed the arrest to NBC News on Thursday.

    Tonya Couch's attorneys, Stephanie K. Patten and Steve Gordon, however, said their client is eager to have her day in court and didn't break any Texas laws.

    "Tonya is currently in the custody of California authorities in Los Angeles. She looks forward to being returned to Texas as quickly as possible. While the public may not like what she did, may not agree with what she did, or may have strong feelings against what she did, make no mistake -- Tonya did not violate any law of the State of Texas and she is eager to have her day in court."

    'Affluenza' Teen's Mom Charged With 'Hindering an Apprehension'

    [DFW] 'Affluenza' Teen's Mom Charged With 'Hindering an Apprehension'
    Tonya Couch, the mother of "affluenza teen" fugitive Ethan Couch, faces up to 10 years in prison after being charged with hindering an apprehension Wednesday. (Published Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015)

    Tonya and Ethan couch were found in the Pacific Coast resort town of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, earlier this week. The pair apparently went into hiding after the teen missed a mandatory meeting with his probation officer on Dec. 10.

    Ethan Couch had been placed on 10 years' probation in early 2014 after pleading guilty to four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with a 2013 drunken driving crash. Four people were killed.

    His attorneys coined the term "affluenza" to describe the privileged upbringing they said was responsible for their client's behavior.

    Tonya Couch returned to the U.S. from Mexico late Wednesday night minus her son, whose own deportation was delayed by a Mexican judge. She arrived at Los Angeles International Airport in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and was taken in handcuffs through the terminal to an unmarked Dodge Charger early Thursday morning.

    She declined to answer reporters' questions while being led from the airport.

    It's unclear why Tonya Couch was flown to California instead of Dallas-Fort Worth, where she and her family live. Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson told NBC News that Tonya Couch is not expected to return to North Texas on Thursday. Anderson said he's working on a plan to bring her back to the Metroplex in the coming days.

    If convicted, Tonya Couch faces a sentence of two to 10 years behind bars for assisting her son in eluding the authorities.

    A Tarrant County judge set her bail at $1 million. Tonya Couch is due back in court Jan. 16, according to a court docket.

    NBC News' Gabe Gutierrez contributed to this report.

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