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Why Did Flavor Flav Go To Prison?

Flavor Flav, born William Jonathan Drayton Jr., is an American musician and television personality best known as a founding member and hype man of the famous hip hop group Public Enemy. Over the course of his long career, Flavor Flav has had multiple run-ins with the law, leading to several stints in jail or prison. His legal troubles have involved charges of assault, driving violations, drug possession, domestic violence, and more.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore Flavor Flav’s complete history of legal issues and incarceration over the decades. A table detailing his various arrests, convictions, and sentences is provided as well. We will also examine key quotes about his convictions and sample frequently asked questions about his criminal record.

Flavor Flav’s Early Legal Troubles

Even before finding fame with Public Enemy in the 1980s, a young Flavor Flav had brushes with the law as a teenager. In 1978, at age 19, he was arrested for chasing a neighbor with a knife and spent three months in a New York correctional facility.

Shortly after, in 1987, Flavor Flav was arrested and pleaded guilty to assaulting his then-girlfriend Karen Ross. He served 30 days in jail. This would be the start of a pattern of domestic abuse charges that would plague Flavor throughout the years.

Drug Possession Charges in the Early 90s

In January 1991, Flavor Flav was arrested for possession of cocaine and marijuana. He spent nine weeks in jail before making bail.

Just over a year later, in March 1992, he was charged again with drug possession after being caught with seven vials of crack. He was sentenced to 30 days in rehab.

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Throughout the early 90s, Flavor Flav developed an infamous reputation for drug addiction, especially crack cocaine. His drug issues only led to more legal problems down the line.

Domestic Abuse Issues Lead to Arrests in 90s and 2000s

In 1993, Flavor Flav was arrested on attempted murder and domestic violence charges for allegedly shooting at his girlfriend Betty Brown and threatening to kill her. He pleaded guilty to assault and spent 90 days in jail.

The pattern repeated in 1994 when Flav was arrested for assaulting his then-girlfriend Shelton Alane. He pleaded guilty once again.

In 2002, he was arrested in Las Vegas for domestic battery after allegedly pushing his girlfriend Karen Ross and grabbing her by the hair. In a plea deal, he admitted to one misdemeanor count and was sentenced to counseling, probation, and 60 days of house arrest.

Multiple DUIs Lead to Big Jail Sentence in 2002

Flavor Flav’s run-ins with the law for drug charges were soon eclipsed by continual arrests for driving under the influence (DUI). His license suspended multiple times, the rapper continued to get behind the wheel intoxicated.

In 2002, the string of DUIs finally caught up to him. He was pulled over driving to his mother’s funeral on a license that had been suspended for nine years. The arrest was his ninth driving violation in just over a decade.

As part of a plea deal for the DUI and driving without a license, Flavor Flav was sentenced to six months in jail and four years probation.

Arrests for Drugs, Assault, More DUIs in 2000s

Even after serving serious jail time in 2002, Flavor Flav’s brushes with the law did not cease.

In 2004, he was arrested on crack cocaine and marijuana charges again, just months after completing probation for his previous DUI sentence.

In 2005, Flavor Flav was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence for threatening his girlfriend Angie Parker with a knife.

The same year, he was pulled over and arrested for driving under suspension. The arrest made him be in violation of the probation for his earlier DUIs.

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In 2006, Flav was sentenced to 60 days in jail for the probation violation.

Serving Three Months for Assault in 2012

In 2012, nearly a decade after his previous sentence, Flavor Flav again ended up behind bars. This was for pleading guilty to charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

The charges stemmed from threatening his fiancee’s teenage son with a knife in Las Vegas. As part of a plea deal, he was sentenced to counseling and three months in jail.

The judge presiding over the case commented that Flavor Flav’s domestic violence issues dated back 30 years and the rapper had not learned his lesson. This marked his final jail sentence to date.

Table of Flavor Flav’s Convictions and Jail Time

1978AssaultGuilty3 months correctional facility
1987AssaultGuilty30 days jail
1991Drug possessionUnknown9 weeks jail, bailed out
1992Drug possessionGuilty30 days rehab
1993Attempted murder, domestic violenceGuilty of assault90 days jail
2002DUI x 9Guilty6 months jail + 4 years probation
2004Drug possessionUnknownUnknown
2005Assault with deadly weaponUnknown60 days jail (probation violation)
2012Assault with deadly weaponGuilty3 months jail

Quotes on Flavor Flav’s Convictions

Over the years, Flavor Flav has shared his perspective on his legal troubles and jail time:

  • “I did over six months in jail, and it wasn’t fun. But I came out a better person from it.”
  • “Jail is a place that will make you never want to go back. A lot of my stupidness came from drug abuse. That’s why I got my act together.”
  • “Driving under the influence is something you should never do. I regret not taking those DUIs more seriously until I finally faced the music.”
  • “Domestic violence is never ok. I’ve made a lot of bad mistakes with women I’m ashamed of.”
  • “You can judge my actions, but at least I’ve tried to learn from my legal problems and change my life for the better.”

The judge who sentenced him in 2012 stated:

  • “Mr. Drayton continues to get arrested over and over for the same behavior…When he faced me in court two years ago I told him to get counseling and take domestic violence seriously.”
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Overall, Flavor Flav has expressed remorse and claims he has learned lessons from his arrests, convictions, and incarcerations, even if the pattern repeated over decades.

Here are answers to some common questions about Flavor Flav and his criminal history:

How many times has Flavor Flav been arrested?

Estimates suggest Flavor Flav has been arrested around 16 times or more in his life, starting as a teenager in the 1970s through 2012. The arrests have covered charges like assault, drug possession, firearm offenses, driving violations, and domestic abuse.

What was Flavor Flav’s longest jail sentence?

The longest single jail sentence Flavor Flav received was 6 months in 2002 after pleading guilty to multiple DUIs and driving without a license charges.

What drugs was Flavor Flav addicted to?

Flavor Flav has said he was especially addicted to crack cocaine during the height of his fame with Public Enemy in the 1980s and 90s. He was arrested multiple times for possession of crack and also marijuana.

How many girls or women has Flavor Flav assaulted?

Flavor Flav has been charged with assaulting at least four different girlfriends or partners over the decades: Karen Ross, Betty Brown, Shelton Alane, and Angie Parker. His abuse often included threats with a weapon.

Did Flavor Flav change after going to jail?

By many accounts, Flavor Flav did seem to change his behavior after experiencing significant jail time for the DUIs and domestic abuse charges in the 2000s. He has avoided further arrests since 2012.


In summary, Flavor Flav amassed an extensive rap sheet stretching back to the 1970s, including at least 16 arrests on charges like drugs, assault, domestic violence, DUIs, and more. He frequently ran afoul of the law for issues like cocaine addiction, driving violations, and repeated abuse toward girlfriends over the decades.

However, Flavor Flav’s longest jail sentences in the 2000s, including 90 days for assault and 6 months for DUIs, did finally seem to alter his behavior and avoid further arrests after 2012. He has expressed remorse for past actions. Nonetheless, his domestic abuse issues lasting 30 years have left a mark on his reputation. While recognizing his musical talents, fans, critics, and judges alike have had to grapple with the recurring theme of criminality throughout Flavor Flav’s varied career in the public eye.

Prison Inside Team

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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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