Legal Drama

(Analysis) Chris Brown Probation Revoked Over Shootings Probation Dept. Wants him Locked Up


*Sigh* “Chris Brown has had his probaChris Brown Jailed for One Monthtion revoked in the Rihanna case, in part because he was present at 2 separate nightclubs when people inside were shot, and officials are worried about more shootings and think Chris should serve time behind bars.

Chris showed up for a progress report Thursday, when the judge told him the probation report presented multiple problems. First, the report mentions the shooting last Sunday in San Jose when Chris was on stage. Five people were injured.

The judge also said the probation report expressed concern over another shooting at 1OAK during VMA weekend last August. Again, Chris was on stage and several people were shot, including Suge Knight.

And the judge said Chris left the county for San Jose without getting the court’s permission, which is a violation of his probation…” TMZ has the full story.

Ms. Uduak’s Take

I have had my fair amount of time in criminal courts representing criminal defendants. Let’s talk about what it means to violate probation.

In the entertainment industry, criminal conduct almost seems inevitable, it’s like bread and butter; they go together. Often, many entertainers, especially those at the top, act like they are immune from the laws of our land. The truth? If you reside in the “U.S. of A,” you, like everyone else, will get prosecuted and serve time if you violate the law. As a general rule, you should adhere to the saying, “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” It really is that simple. Arguably, in the eye of the public, many celebrities get off scot free. At the end of the day, whether they get off easily or not, experiencing the legal system, especially the criminal system, is one of the most super stressful things that can happen to an individual and family, especially if it is a first. It is no joke.

Here is the run down on violation of probation and what it means should you find yourself in such situation.

What is Probation?
Probation is essentially a suspension of the sentence that the judge was going to execute or impose on you. In a super simple lingo, the court essentially says, “Hey Chris Brown, we’ve gone through trial or you took a  plea. You have been found guilty and convicted. For your sentence, I can put you in jail now. However, I have the choice to let you go home, IF you agree to follow certain rules. You follow it, we are so good and in 3yrs, your case is over with. You mess up on any of the rules, I will most likely have you sitting  in jail. How you wanna do this?”

Why Does the Court Exercise this Option?
The court believes, through arguments shown by your attorney, that letting you back into the community poses minimal risk to the public and also promotes your rehabilitation.

What is the Difference Between Formal vs. Informal Probation?
Many states by law provide for formal and informal probation. Formal means you are supervised by a Probation Office (PO); you have to check in with your PO, typically once a month. Informal means you stay out of trouble, you complete the terms of your sentencing (community service, counseling, drug testing, jail time) and you do not need to check in with a PO.

How Long Does Probation Last?
Misdemeanor cases: generally 1-3years. Felonies in California: generally 3-5years, or longer, depending on the facts.

What Does it Take to Violate Probation?
Totally ignore the terms of condition for your release i.e. Chris Brown style. Go to San Jose when you are not supposed to or you did not get consent to do so.

What Happens When You Violate Probation?
Two things. 1) Your PO can issue a notice i.e. warning to you; OR 2) your PO can file a petition for your violation of probation, forcing you to appear in court for a probation hearing. Number 2 happened here.

What Happens in Court at the Probation Hearing?
Heard of “Beyond a reasonable doubt?”  Well, toss that out of the window because the standard in Probation hearings is way less than that. The court weighs the arguments and evidence provided by all parties and makes a ruling. Usually they believe what the P.O has in the probation report. Which gets us to sentencing.

What is Sentencing all About?
It means the court found you indeed violated probation and sentences you accordingly.

What are the Sentencing Options?
Jail, extension of probation, probation revocation (which means you serve out the rest of your time), among many options. The court has the discretion to look at the gravity of the probation violation, prior crimes, new crimes you have committed in deciding what your sentence will be.

Stay out of trouble people.


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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at

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