Using affluenza as a defense

Posted December 31st, 2015 by .

Categories: Criminal Defense.

affluenza defense anthony carbone

As attorneys who practice some aspects of criminal defense, we are often called upon to use creativity in our representation of our clients.  Notwithstanding, we must admit that affluenza as a defense is not commonly used in New Jersey.  However, it is no secret that attorneys learn from the law and the practice of others.

What is Affluenza?

Basically, affluenza is described as the “the guilt or lack of motivation experienced by people who have made or inherited large amounts of money.”  The defense includes the presumption that individuals suffering from affluenza do not really understand the consequences of their actions.   How could this possibly be an excuse for becoming involved in any type of criminal activity?

The news is afire with the case of a young man who received a minor penalty for killing four people while driving under the influence.  He was only sixteen at the time of the accident and sentenced to a mere ten years of probation.  Someone with less inferior legal representation might have landed in jail.  Some say it is not surprising that the culprit was recently videoed playing beer pong with some other young people.  Once the video was released, the defendant realized his probationary requirements could be deemed violated.  His mother helped him make the grand escape to Mexico.  She even went with him.  Now, she is back in the states with felony charges of her own.

Could the Affluenza Defense Work in NJ?

If the affluenza defense worked in Texas, could it possibly be employed here in NJ?  Has it ever been used?  It should be noted that the defendant in the well-publicized national case was a minor at the time he was charged.  The standard for understanding responsibility is often viewed as lower for juvenile offenders.

Does this mean that juvenile offenders are exempt from accepting responsibility for driving intoxicated behind the wheel?  First, New Jersey has high standards for the use of drugs and alcohol at any age.  In addition, our motor vehicle regulations are different than many states. Besides, killing someone while driving is a pretty significant matter.

We have not found evidence that affluenza has been used as a defense in New Jersey before or after the case receiving national attention.  The fact that an individual has been coddled by their parents has not presented as plausible by even major psychiatric experts.

Contact Us

At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we believe that our clients deserve second chances.  Even if affluenza is not a viable defense, we evaluate cases for consideration of all legal options.  Contact us for experienced legal advice concerning your situation.

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