When it comes to the music industry, and specifically hip hop, there is overwhelming instances of many hip-hop artists having a run-in with the law. It is a lifestyle and culture that is rapped about and celebrated. Often I see Nigerian artists both here in the States and those on the continent, trying to emulate the actions of these brothers without context or an idea what the heck they are doing.
As one who has worked with many criminal defendants in criminal courts, I can tell you it is no fun. No matter how much of a strong facade you see put up on television or where the fellas all hangout, the reality is facing time in the penitentiary leaves many scared and hopeless. So, as I always say, “the ball is in your court. How you wanna do this?” It really is up to each individual with the choices they make and the consequences that follow.
Let’s look at the latest case. Darryl Kevin Richardson III aka Lil’ Scrappy has just been arrested for violation of probation for possession of an illegal substance (marijuana) and also a weapon.
Some of our artists who visit the USA also engage in use and possession of illegal substances, specifically marijuana. We leave the names out on this one. But, you all should know if you are on USA territory violating US laws, the bad image and repercussions both for your careers and the nation you represent is simply not a good look. So, fall back on that, especially when you are on US territory.
“Rapper Lil Scrappy — the guy behind the 2006 hit “Money in the Bank” — was arrested in Atlanta, Georgia earlier today for violating his probation … TMZ has learned.
TMZ obtained photos of the 28-year-old rapper being taken into custody on the side of the road … where he was handcuffed.
Scrappy — real name Darryl Kevin Richardson II — was booked at the DeKalb County Jail.
According to his booking sheet, he was listed at 5’10” and 185 lbs.
4:30 PM PT — We’ve learned … Scrappy is on probation stemming from a marijuana conviction in 2008.
He was sentenced to 5 years probation for the weed bust … and was ordered to abstain from the use or possession of any alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs.
He was also ordered to complete an alcohol/drug education program and was ordered to perform 240 hours of community service. . .” – TMZ
AML Commentary – California Violation of Probation
Below is one of my articles on VOP republished here on AML.
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 XYZ, we’ve gone through trial or you pled (guilty or no contest to certain charges). You have been found guilty and convicted. For your sentence, I can put you in jail/prison 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/prison. How you wanna do this?” In most jurisdictions (states), in misdemeanor cases (crimes with confinement time of 1yr maximum), courts have the power to do this.
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 need not check in with a PO.
How Long Does Probation Last?
Misdemeanor cases: 1-3years. It can last up to 5years, depending on the facts of the case.
What Does it Take to Violate Probation?
Totally ignore the terms of condition for your release like Lil’ Scrappy does in this case.
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.
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/Prison, 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!