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Teen uses unusual defense in fatal drunk driving case

Many New York parents of teenagers might agree that their teens do not seem to understand that actions have consequences. There is something about the teenage years that leads a number of teens to demonstrate questionable judgment and test boundaries, even when they have been raised to know better. When they have not been taught the differences between right and wrong, the naive teenage years can be full of very poor decisions.

In a recent case, a psychologist testified before a judge to explain that a teenager who drove drunk, resulting in an accident that killed four people, was not aware that his actions could have real-world consequences.

Specifically, the psychologist said that the 16-year-old grew up surrounded by affluenza. Affluenza, the psychologist explained, is failing to realize that bad behavior can cause negative consequences because one’s experiences prove that wealth negates this.

The boy grew up in a very wealthy and privileged household, and he had made a number of mistakes in his youth but he never experienced consequences. For example, the boy was allowed to drink well before legal age, and he started driving at the age of 13. When, at the age of 15, he was discovered in a truck with a naked, passed out girl, he did not experience any sort of punishment.

After reportedly driving drunk in June and being involved in the fatal car accident, the teen was charged as a juvenile with multiple counts of intoxicated manslaughter.

In light of the controversial affluenza defense, the teen was not sentenced to any jail time, but will instead serve 10 years probation and undergo long-term treatment at a rehab center.

Source: WDAM 7, “Teen uses ‘affluenza’ defense in deadly drunken driving case,” Dec. 12, 2013