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Why Did Chris Brown Go To Prison?

Overview of Chris Brown’s Legal Issues

Chris Brown is an American singer, songwriter, dancer, and actor who has had numerous high-profile legal issues over the past decade. He is most well-known for physically assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009, but has had other arrests and legal problems since then.

Brown has been arrested multiple times for charges including felony assault, making criminal threats, reckless driving, and probation violations. Some of his legal troubles stemmed from violent outbursts, while others were related to drug use or other questionable behavior.

Ultimately, Brown did spend time in jail and was sentenced to probation for several years due to his legal issues. Here is an overview of some of Chris Brown’s most notable arrests and court cases that eventually led to his imprisonment:

2009 Assault of Rihanna

In February 2009, Chris Brown physically assaulted his girlfriend at the time, pop star Rihanna, after getting into an argument. The assault occurred in Brown’s rented Lamborghini on the eve of the Grammy Awards.

Brown punched, bit, and choked Rihanna until she nearly lost consciousness. When photos of Rihanna’s battered face were released, it sparked outrage and condemnation of Chris Brown’s actions.

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Brown was arrested and charged with felony assault and making criminal threats. He pled guilty to the felony assault charge in June 2009 and was sentenced to 5 years of probation, 1,400 hours of community service, and domestic violence counseling.

2012 Nightclub Brawl

In June 2012, Brown was involved in an altercation with rapper Drake and his entourage at a New York City nightclub. Brown posted photos of himself with a gash on his chin, accusing Drake of sending bottles flying at him during the brawl.

Several people were injured in the fight, which reportedly started over Rihanna, who both men had dated. Brown was not arrested at the time, but later sued the nightclub over the incident.

2013 Hit-and-Run and Probation Violation

In August 2013, Brown was arrested on charges of hit-and-run driving after rear-ending another car in Los Angeles and refusing to provide insurance or driver’s license information.

The driver of the other car later dropped the charges, but the incident was considered a probation violation related to Brown’s 2009 conviction. As a result, Brown’s probation was revoked later that month and he was ordered to complete an additional 1,000 hours of community labor.

2014 Assault Charge and Jail Time

In October 2013, Brown was arrested for felony assault in Washington D.C. after getting into an altercation outside of a hotel. He allegedly punched a man who tried to photobomb him and broke his nose.

Brown pled guilty to the charge in September 2014. As part of his plea deal, he was sentenced to 131 days in jail and ordered to complete an inpatient rehabilitation program.

Brown served his jail sentence in Northern Neck Regional Jail in Virginia and was released in early June 2014.

2018 Arrest for Felony Battery

In April 2018, Brown was arrested after a concert in Florida on charges of felony battery. A photographer reported that Brown punched him during an event at a nightclub.

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The photographer claimed injuries to his head and was granted a restraining order against Brown. However, prosecutors later dropped the charges due to insufficient evidence and Brown avoided another conviction.

2019 Arrest for Probation Violation

In January 2019, Brown was arrested by Los Angeles police following allegations that he had raped a woman at his home. Brown denied the allegations and was released on $250,000 bail.

The LA district attorney’s office ultimately declined to file charges against Brown over the alleged rape. However, Brown was found to have violated his probation from the 2009 Rihanna assault case by getting arrested.

As a result, Brown was ordered to spend 90 days at an inpatient drug treatment center followed by random drug testing and domestic violence counseling. He completed his 90-day treatment stay and has been out of custody since April 2019.

Table of Chris Brown’s Arrests & Crimes

February 2009Felony assault, criminal threats against Rihanna5 years probation, community service, counseling
June 2012Nightclub brawl with DrakeCivil lawsuit against club
August 2013Hit-and-run driving, probation violationProbation revoked, 1,000 more hours community service
October 2013Felony assault in Washington DC131 days jail, rehab program
April 2018Felony battery against photographerCharges dropped
January 2019Probation violation90 days inpatient drug treatment

Why did Chris Brown assault Rihanna in 2009?

On the night of the 2009 Grammy Awards, Rihanna and Chris Brown got into an argument that turned physical while driving in Brown’s rented Lamborghini. The reason for their argument remains unclear, but Brown viciously beat Rihanna, leaving her with facial injuries.

What crimes was Chris Brown convicted of?

Chris Brown was convicted of felony assault for the 2009 beating of Rihanna and sentenced to 5 years of probation. He was later convicted of misdemeanor assault for the 2013 altercation in Washington DC and spent 131 days in jail.

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How much time did Chris Brown spend in jail?

In total, Chris Brown has spent at least 131 days in jail for his conviction on assault charges in 2014 related to the Washington DC incident. He was also jailed for probation violations and spent 90 days in a treatment center as part of his 2019 conviction.

Did Chris Brown face charges for assaulting other women?

Brown has been accused of assault by multiple other women but has not faced criminal charges in most cases. Some allegations were made by former girlfriends. Other incidents involved arguments or altercations where charges were dropped.

How has Chris Brown avoided more serious penalties for his crimes?

Despite his lengthy history of violent incidents, Chris Brown has avoided lengthy prison sentences through plea deals, dropped charges, community service, probation, and rehabilitation programs. His wealth and fame likely played a role in receiving light sentences compared to average citizens.


In summary, Chris Brown has been arrested multiple times over the past decade for charges stemming from violent outbursts and aggressive behavior. However, he ultimately only served a cumulative total of around 200 days in jail or treatment programs.

Brown avoided long prison sentences by taking plea deals for convictions like his 2009 assault of Rihanna and 2013 assault in Washington DC. Other charges were dropped altogether. Nonetheless, Brown’s repeated legal issues reveal a pattern of violence and uncontrolled anger.

The relatively light punishment Chris Brown has received for beating Rihanna, punching other assault victims, getting into nightclub brawls, and probation violations continues to fuel debate around celebrity privilege in the justice system. However, Brown’s career and reputation have certainly suffered as a result of the public knowledge about his criminal history and explosive temper.

Prison Inside Team

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We are dedicated to exploring the intricacies of prison life and justice reform through firsthand experiences and expert insights.

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Welcome to ‘Prison Inside,’ a blog dedicated to shedding light on the often hidden and misunderstood world within correctional facilities. Through firsthand accounts, personal narratives, and insightful reflections, we delve into the lives of those who find themselves behind bars, offering a unique perspective on the challenges, triumphs, and transformations that unfold within the confines of these walls.

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