'Affluenza' Teen's Mom Returns to Texas for Friday Morning Court Appearance But Does Not Enter a Plea Because Her Lawyer Was Late

Tonya Couch was unable to enter a plea because her lawyer was late

Photo: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Tonya Couch, the mother whose 18-year-old son Ethan is known as the “affluenza teen,” was back in her home state of Texas Friday morning following her recent extradition from California.

The 48-year-old mother, who along with Ethan fled to Mexico last month, was unable to enter a plea Wednesday morning during a brief appearance before Tarrant County Judge Wayne Salvant.

According to law enforcement sources, the Texas attorney representing Couch, who is charged with hindering the apprehension of her fugitive son, arrived too late for her client’s court hearing.

“Her lawyer showed up too late, after her whole court appearance was over,” Terry Grisham, a spokesman for the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department, tells PEOPLE. “This hearing was merely a formality that every inmate goes through, and during it, the judge basically just explained the charges and her rights.”

Couch will spend the weekend in jail on $1 million bail. She will be back in court Monday morning for a hearing requested by her attorney.

At that hearing, Couch’s lawyer will attempt to convince Salvant to lower Couch’s bail. Grisham tells PEOPLE he expects Couch’s bail will be reduced next week, but he says Couch will likely be subjected to electronic monitoring, saying, “We don’t wanna have to go chasing after her again.”

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Ethan was 16 when he drove drunk and killed four pedestrians in 2013; he was spared jail time and sentenced to 10 years probation after his defense attorney argued that he suffered from “affluenza” because of his wealthy upbringing.

Police allege Tonya went on the run with her son after video footage appeared on Twitter showing Ethan at a party where drinking games were being played; if Ethan had been drinking, it would have violated the terms of his probation.

The Couches were detained in late December in the Mexican resort town of Puerto Vallarta following a weeks-long nationwide manhunt.

Ethan remains in Mexico, where his attorneys claim they’ll fight his extradition to the United States if they feel his detention was mishandled.

The U.S. Marshals Service tracked Couch and his mother to an apartment in Mexico after one of them used a cell phone to order Domino’s Pizza.

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