Singer Chris Brown could face jail time in battery case

Singer Chris Brown sometimes makes more headlines for legal troubles than his music. 

Brown, who pleaded guilty to assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009, walked away with probation and legal fees.  And while some see that as a slap on the wrist, that is not the outcome expected for his legal problems in Tampa, explained attorney Anthony Rickman.

"He's escaped [incarceration] in the past...We know he did five years' probation for Rihanna," said Rickman, who's not involved but evaluated the case for FOX 13. "The State Attorney's Office in Tampa may put their foot down and say, 'We are not going to let him walk away with probation, only. We are going to seek a harsher sentence.'"

In 2017, Brown was accused of punching a photographer at a Tampa nightclub. When police got there, Brown and his entourage were gone.

A warrant was issued for his arrest, and now Brown finds himself facing a third-degree felony of battery.

At his latest court hearing in Tampa Thursday, Brown waived his appearance, but his attorney was there. It does not appear the state is willing to offer him a deal. 

Brown now has a couple of options on the table: He could plead guilty, also known as an open plea, but, in that case, Brown's past bad behavior would be considered by the judge. Or he could go to trial.

"The trial would be a circus, a media circus. We would have Chris Brown performing in a court of law in front of six jurors instead of on stage," said Rickman.

If Brown decides to plead guilty, he faces up to five years in prison and the judge will have the final say on his sentence.

But Rickman added, an offer by the state could be presented at the eleventh hour.