The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Chris Brown Catches a Break, Didn't Violate Probation ... Maybe

Chris Brown committed a crime, and pleaded guilty in California. He served his probation in Virginia. In one state, consumption of a certain substance is legal. In the other, it is not. When his probation requires him not to break any laws, does doing something legal in one state, and illegal in another, qualify as a violation?

In case you were wondering, Brown failed a drug test for marijuana, reports the Los Angeles Times. Brown has a medical marijuana card here in California but tested positive in Virginia. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean he smoked in Virginia - tests can turn up positive weeks or even a month after someone consumes cannabis.

Technically, by having an illegal drug in his system in Virginia, he broke the law. If the judge had wanted to send him to jail, he probably wouldn't have much of a leg to stand on. Fortunately for him, according to TMZ, the only punishment he received was a lecture about being a role model.

In addition to admonishing his conduct and reminding him of his status as a role model to children everywhere, the judge pointed out that she didn't order drug testing. Failing a drug test not mandated by the court would usually not violate one's probation.

Whether or not one is punished for violating his probation is typically a matter reserved for the judge's discretion. This is done so for situations exactly like this, where the laws of two states are grossly incongruent.

If Brown wishes to continue to use marijuana medically, he shouldn't have any further issues. His case and probation were transferred back to California since he now resides in the Golden State.

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